Forever tempting to discover the chaotic and limitless dark corners of our lives, the gothic genre came to life in the 18th century to personify this primal desire that eccentric composers craved to explore. For centuries, audiences have been captured with the confronting themes, supernatural suspense and otherworldliness that gothic texts offer. Edgar Allan Poe and Tim Burton are two passionate and dominant composers of the genre whose works remain today as eternal motivators for its continuance. Poe’s poem “The Raven” and Burton’s short film “Vincent provide an example to the driving forces of the gothic genre; terror-filled atmospheres, conformity vs individuality and escapism.
Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps one of the most sacredly regarded writers of the gothic genre. Poe showed interest into the psyche of man and its effects within terror-filled atmospheres. As such, Poe’s graphic, grim and grotesque conventions amounted to his belief that “A short story must have a single mood, and every sentence must build towards it”.
“The Raven” is a spectacle to Poe’s distinctive writing style as he successfully projects an intimate effect through his heightened atmospheres and supernatural symbols. Poe achieves this through ensuring that his characters are absent of traditional gothic melodrama, and removes much of their dialogue to create scenes where the reader can insert themselves for the inevitable envelopment of suspense and paralysis of terror. By creating rational thinking characters, Poe can also play with how well the human psyche responds to fear-inducing situations.
Conversely, in the original traditional gothic works, the element of atmosphere was largely supported by use of gothic set. Poe however demonstrates little use of set description, only as a contrast the protagonist’s internal torment – a calm enclosed chamber vs a tempest storm outside – and relies on his atmosphere to be stimulated through str…