(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

A Descent into MaelstrÖm

             Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the best-known American Romantic who worked in the Gothic mode. His stories explore the darker side of the Romantic imagination, dealing with the grotesque, the supernatural, and the horrifying. .
             That Poe considered "A Descent into the MaelstrÖm " one of his best tales is understandable, since the story incorporates so well so much that is characteristically his. The blackness is there, and the reader feels the awful terror of these elements as they are described by the man who faced them.
             There are two narratives present in the story which are very important for the purpose of the story: the first, related by the unnamed narrator who tells us the sailor's tale; the second, the tale properly, told to this preliminary narrator by the sailor, the actual descender into the MaelstrÖm. First of all, it is seen that the sailor's narrative illustrates that as regards the chaotic mysteries of Nature, aesthetic intuition is far more important than science. The sailor manages to save himself through his poetic appreciation of Nature, not through his rational comprehension of it. Secondly, the sailor's tale is both supported and complemented by the first narrator's introductory story. This frame narrative foreshadows what is going to happen at the end of the story, which is implicit in the framed tale, and indicates, by the way in which it is told and by the fact that it is being told, that the first narrator has been affected by the sailor's tale and that he believes it. .
             The sailor gets caught in the MaelstrÖm because of a simple mistake: he lets his watch run down, and consequently he fails to leave the area in time. But the error has deeper implications. For depending so much on his watch, even though it has been accurate in timing the MaelstrÖm, the mariner reveals an attitude toward Nature that is essentially practical and rationalistic. By employing a man-made instrument and the arbitrary measurements (minutes and hours) it produces, the sailor seems to expect something of chaos: he expects it to act in a certain way, according to his technologically measured design.

Essays Related to A Descent into MaelstrÖm

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question