Hypermasculinity in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe Public

Edgar Allan Poe was constructing his detective stories and Gothic tales during a time when male literature was at its height during what would be called the American Renaissance by twentieth-century, literary scholars. However, female writers and suffragists were just beginning to establish a voice in the male-dominated world. Poe created a fictional world in which male characters continued to dominate while voiceless, female characters were often the victims of their aggressive tendencies and violent outbursts. What came out of these fictitious portrayals was a possibly real representation of the dangers of hypermasculinity in a domestic space during Poe’s time. This project, drawing on critical articles by Joseph Church and Ann V. Bliss, as well as Poe’s own works “The Black Cat” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” demonstrates examples of Poe’s depiction of the violent aspects of the 19th-century patriarchal society, including the suspicious, often meaningless deaths of women in fiction. The themes of hypermasculinity and violence towards women in Poe’s short stories could also possibly reflect an inner misogyny of the author, himself.

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