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Essay - The Imp of the Perverse

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Essay - The Imp of the Perverse Discuss the key elements of character, language and theme of "the Imp of the Perverse" Refer to at least one other story in the course of your response. "The Imp..." is a story that demonstrates on many levels the theme of Perversity. It begins with a very impersonal, discursive tone, examining humanity's tendency to be perverse in the style of a metaphysical essay. The language here deliberately unsettles the reader with its use of rhetorical questions and superfluous repetitions: "If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts, that call the works into being? If we cannot understand him in his objective creatures, how then in his substantive moods and phases of creation?" Here, the unnamed narrator speculates philosophically whether humans should look at the world, and the nature of the human condition (including that of perversity), from a fixed viewpoint, or a priori, this being religion. ...read more.


The repetition used here also connotes a possible insanity in the narrator, another recurring device used by Poe (c.f. "tell-tale heart"). Another possible idea present, at the opening of the story is that of the narrator's alienation with the rest of the world. He has no real relationships with anyone, and seems a very lonely, solitary character. This is apparent In the use of violent diction, portraying the self-image of the 'individual versus society'; for example with the use of words like "combativeness", "force" and "self-defense" all give the idea that the narrator is full of hostility and cynicism with regards to the rest of the world. The theme of perversity, in relation to common ideals on morality is challenged towards the end of the story. Prior to this, perversity is portrayed as something that decidedly leads to 'bad' things happening: particularly murder. ...read more.


Both stories try to convey the sense that they fully know what they intended to do, and put their own lack of motives down to perversity, the idea that they committed the murders because they knew they should not. A possible contrast with the stories is that the ideas about perversity are more coherently expressed by "the Imp..." narrator. In addition, both narrators are depicted as insane, above all through the characteristic repetition attributed to the language of both characters: "Repeating, in a low undertone, the phrase, 'I am safe.'"; "I foamed --I raved --I swore! ... It grew louder --louder --louder!" Also, ironically it is through the self-destructive nature of each characters' perversity that they are compelled to confess. In conclusion, I have discussed the interrelated ideas of character, theme and language in "the Imp..." and expressed how these elements contributed to the events of the story and their effects on the reader. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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