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Love and Death in the Tales of Poe Upon hearing the name Edgar Allan Poe most people think of macabre tales containing suspense and terror These are not the only types of stories Poe has written One of his best-known horror stories The Fall of the House of Usher is also a story of love Love is an important and meaningful element in romantic stories Throughout his tales Poe uses the relationship of love between two people not only to expand the story but also to incite fear and foreshadow death According to Oscar Wilde each man kills the thing he loves Ballad 25 Poe seems to embrace this theory in his story Eleonora The narrator of the tale is in love with his cousin Eleonora and makes a vow that he will never love another woman and would in no manner prove recreant to her dear memory Poe Eleonora 197 When the speaker proclaims his love for Eleonora she realizes that she is close to death and does not have much time to live In Poe love is a purely frictional destructive force Lawrence 2 and he uses it with death two themes that are not commonly found together in that era The story of Ligeia is also about a man having so much adoration for the woman he loves that she dies In fact the narrator subconsciously realizes this destiny about his lover stating I saw that she must die Poe Ligeia 67 Clearly being a heroine in one of Poes short stories means dying at a young age Although there are some horror elements within the tales Ligeia and The Fall of the House of Usher are really love stories Lawrence 377 In The Fall of the House of Usher Poe uses the love between Roderick and Madeline Usher to thicken the plot and enhance the story In this story the love is between brother and sister who are twins Roderick
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