Throughout my study of Poe, I have noticed several very common themes. Some of these are death, unusual settings, and exotic characters. However, on of the most common themes I have encountered during this study, is the death of a significant woman in the narrator's life. One of Edgar Allen Poe's most common themes was the unjust death of a woman that the narrator loved. .
One of my favorite stories by Poe that illustrates this theme is "The Raven." In "The Rave," the narrator's lost love, Lenore, died of a mystery illness (possibly tuberculosis.). The narrator spends most of the poem grieving for Lenore and hoping, praying and wishing that she would come back. He is in so much grief that he even thinks that a raven was sent to tell him that he was never going to see her again. I think that each time he brought up this theme when he was writing, he was grieving for his own lost love, Virginia. .
Another poem that I really enjoyed by Poe was "Annabel Lee," which was presented by Linwood Watkins. The story starts out talking about how happy Annabel Lee and the narrator are together; they are said to live in a "kingdom by the sea," which I think is a metaphor for living happily together. Later in the poem, the narrator goes on to say that, the angels became jealous of Annabel because she was so beautiful, so they killed her. Obviously, the narrator becomes very sad and longs for Annabel to come back. "Annabel Lee" is a good example of Edgar Allen Poe's contempt for death.
A slightly different example of this theme is Matt Hynson's presentation of "The Oval Portrait." This story was also told from the view of a narrator, but the narrator was just witnessing a series of events leading to a woman's death. In summary, a painter decides to paint his true love, and as he paints she slowly becomes more and more decrepit until, when at last the painting is finished, she dies. In this story, Poe tells of a man who is responsible for his lover's death.