Edgar Allen Poe's Use of Lead Characters
It is very easy to associate Edgar Allen Poe with thoughts of dreariness and darkness and with good reason as much of his writing does reflect those very downcast moods. Although, authors do like to sometimes break their stereotypes and produce things entirely different from their usual and Poe is no exception. This can be easily observed by comparing the use of his lead characters in the stories “The Black Cat”, “Hop-Frog” and “The Purloined Letter.”
Each character is in a different situation and the reader has a different reaction to each one according to their actions. The narrator in “The Black Cat” is the kind of character one likely comes into contact with most in Poe’s works.
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His sole purpose to the king’s court is to be laughed at. He is not treated as though a person, but merely an object for the king’s amusement and therefore he is shown respect and pity from absolutely no one excepting his only friend and fellow dwarf Trippetta whom had been captured from the same country as himself. In addition to the constant emotional torture he receives from those around him, he is in constant physical pain whenever he walks, thus the basis of his nickname “Hop-Frog, through the distortion of his legs, could only move with great pain and difficulty along a road or floor.” Poe uses the first half or so of the story to evoke pity from the reader for Hop-Frog’s sad and pathetic position and making him the protagonist and the king and his ministers the antagonists. Although Hop-Frog does do a terrible and gruesome and terrible thing by tricking the king and his ministers and burning them alive, one finds it hard to hate him for it in light of the actions that had provoked it. In this way he is different from the narrator in our first story as they both committed great evils, but where one the reader hates for his actions the other they are better able to relate to and appreciate the justice that results. Instead of feeling pity for the victims, one finds themselves happy that Hop-Frog and Trippetta are able to get their revenge and