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The Purloined Letter

by Edgar Allan Poe

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Who is Dupin in "The Purloined Letter"?

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Auguste Dupin is the detective and main character in this mystery story. He born to wealth but, at this point, has lost his money.

Dupin has a genius for solving mysteries. This is based on his ability to go beyond logic and rationality—though he rigorously uses both—to understand the psychology of the criminals he hopes to capture. He argues that a good detective needs to have insight and intuition and can obtain this by being able to identify with others. When he can think like the person who committed a crime (in other words, get inside his head), he can figure out what happened.

In this case, he is able to ascertain that the minister who stole the letter was smart enough to know he could not hide the letter. Therefore, Dupin knows to look for it hiding in plain sight, which yields the document.

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