Compare Edgar Allen Poe and Hannibal Lecter Term Paper

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Edgar Allan Poe and Hannibal

Edgar Allan Poe was more than a horror storywriter. He was a person that delved into the human psyche and created a psychological thriller that haunted the reader's mind well after the conclusion was made.

Poe has delved into the human spirit at a time when the idea of the unconscious mind had probably either not evolved, or had just been described and was not commonly known. In his stories of horror, Poe explored in depth the human psyche. Poe was a critic of rationalism but at the same time he was a master in the art of constructing, logically, the irrational 'rationale' for crime committed by his characters. Poe lived a difficult and rather impoverished life, and was himself often given to alcoholism in his private life and the narrator's fears and contradictions that the author describes are something he might have experienced himself. For as James Russell Lowell said, "Mr. Poe's early productions show that he could see through the verse to the spirit beneath, and that he already had a feeling that all the life and grace of the one must depend on and be modulated by the will of the other."

Hannibal Lecter is also a gourmet, an oenophile, a man of genius and impeccable taste. But he eats human flesh. Sometimes he eats people when they are still alive, without their permission. To his credit, Lecter uses the best silver, the finest crystal andthe most elegant china as he dines on human sweetbreads. His classic line from "The Silence of the Lambs": A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone.

Hannibal Lecter is a character created by Thomas Harris. Harris merely wrote Lecter into existence. Lecter took it from there, escaping from his fictional dungeon. He became a cultural icon so vivid and powerful that it doesn't really matter whether they're real or invented. Thus, he became a rival to Poe and yet, remained a sort of archetype to the reality of Poe.

Lecter is shown to be born in Eastern Europe, his father a count: his pulse never rises, savage animals neither attack nor fear him. Lecter is not, in any strict sense, a man, and Harris is artist enough to allow this. Hannibal Lecter is, instead, an element: the element of evil. (Author not available, 1999)

In popular tradition Poe is thought of as a great drunkard, but the truth is more complicated than such a statement would suggest. He was brought up in a society that revolved around social drinking, but liquor had a terrible effect on him. He despised debauchery in any form, and yet he did drink. He drank occasionally because it was the habit of the time and because it was a form of charity he could accept without feeling beholden. And, of course, as his position in life became more and more miserable, he drank as an escape from reality. When he did drink his hypersensitive personality was badly affected.

In his supernatural fiction Poe usually dealt with paranoia rooted in personal psychology, physical or mental enfeeblement, obsessions, the damnation of death, feverish fantasies, the cosmos as source of horror and inspiration, without bothering himself with such supernatural beings as ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and so on. Some of his short stories are humorous, among them 'The Devil in the Belfry,' 'The Duc de l'Omelette,' 'Bon-Bon' and 'Never Bet the Devil Your Head,' all of which employ the Devil as an ironic figure of fun. - Poe was also one of the most prolific literary journalists in American history, one whose extensive body of reviews and criticism has yet to be collected fully."(Arthur 1941)

Harris's novel does not answer any questions about the dark that inhabits all of us to a greater or lesser degree. It raises those questions, instead, and that is what makes this a fine novel, deep and intriguing, worthy of its bald, bold language and biblical allusion.

Hannibal Lecter is certain that "his own modest predations paled beside those of God, who is in irony matchless, and in wanton malice beyond measure." Is he wrong? Villains are no good if they can be placed safely in the space that belongs to the other.

It would not be wrong to say that misery and tragedy haunted Edgar since early times when his parents died and e was orphaned. However his foster parents abide did give him comfort and decent d education but that was also short lived. Edagrs mystifying, Gothic horror one presumes is the response of the dark side of his life. His ever famous 'Raven' published in 1845 speaks of the lonely atmosphere he lived throughout his life.

A aught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of "never -- never more!"(Arthur 1941)

This stanza from "The Raven" was recommended by James Russell Lowell as an inscription upon the Baltimore monument, which marks the resting-place of Edgar Allan Poe, the most interesting and original figure in American letters. Coming back to his writing style "Mr. Poe has two of the prime qualities of genius, a faculty of vigorous yet minute analysis, and a wonderful fecundity of imagination. The first of these faculties is as needful to the artist in words, as knowledge of anatomy is to the artist in colors or in stone. This enables him to conceive truly, to maintain a proper relation of parts, and to draw a correct outline, while the second groups, fills up and colors. Both of these Mr. Poe has displayed with singular distinctness in his prose works, the last predominating in his earlier tales, and the first in his later ones." (DeNuccio, 1997)It is rightly said that no writer and no poet can be true to his work unless he has gone through the same pain and situation that he embodies in his work. This analogue fits Poe to the core. He combines the powers of superstition and unreality in his tales and grips the minds of the readers as if in a trance. Even though his work was excellent and well received but his writings never brought any monetary benefits, which could have shaped the path of his life a lot different, then it was.

Lecter's power as a character of fiction is that he lives to haunt us, to exist in the reader's imagination outside the novel, to stand beside the other monsters lingering in the shadows: the Beast with his Beauty, Grendel, Bluebeard, Dracula. We are frightened of the dark. We want it. We hate to admit it. Last night I dreamt of Hannibal Lecter. (The Times)

Louis Fitzgerald Tasistro stated, Had Mr. Poe written nothing else but "Morella," "William Wilson," "The House of Usher," and the "MS. Found in a Bottle," he would deserve a high place among imaginative writers, for there is a fine poetic feeling, much brightness of fancy, an excellent taste, a ready eye for the picturesque, much quickness of observation, and great truth of sentiment and character in all these works."

It would be rather pertinent to point out that Edgar Poe's life influenced his writings rather then his writings influenced his life. (CAMPBELL 1999) For they did not bring him any comfort or worldly comfort if you may, his wife passed away dying from tuberculosis, and he could do nothing to help her. This feeling haunted him after her death and eventually he died a couple of years later. Although a lot of his works still remain like his Gothic tales "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Armontillado," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red…[continue]

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