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In the short story "The Purloined Letter" what personal battle with a widely...

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woodrgang | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 13, 2008 at 7:20 AM via web

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In the short story "The Purloined Letter" what personal battle with a widely held belief is Poe possibly fighting in the story?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 18, 2012 at 11:51 PM (Answer #1)

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Your question is difficult to try to answer, though it is challenging. Edgar Allan Poe was a great genius, not unlike his character C. Auguste Dupin. Poe undoubtedly saw many truths which ordinary people like Prefect G- could not see. Judging from his vocabulary, he had an I.Q. that would have been nearly off the chart. Poe lived in a time when science was beginning to challenge beliefs that had been universally held for centuries. He was very interested in science himself--and he must have sensed that science would continue undermining religious faith as it exposed accepted truths as mere myths. The challenge to established religion would challenge political institutions and social institutions and go on to challenge every widely held belief. Poe was a hundred years ahead of his time. His "Sonnet--To Science" shows that he saw the down side of science too.

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