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Adventures in Death: Poe’s Maelström

A Descent Into the Maelström  by Edgar Allan Poe (1841)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  May 28,2013

If you like sea adventures, this one is an absolute must read … Picture yourself high upon a cliff on the mountain of Helseggen the Cloudy above a raging sea on the Norwegian coastline.

Some say death comes in installments offering us choices. When Edgar Allan Poe wrote A Descent into the Maelström, he presents a unique question. Is it worth it to succumb to death, hang on desperately to your life, or defy it and figure your way out? In this story, Poe takes us a step further. He tempts us into the darkness of death and opens us up to the wild beauty of nature.

We had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag.

This opening line is from an old man with shocking white hair, but not old because of age. This man is weakened, unstrung, and shaky because of “six hours of deadly terror.”

Three brothers are on a fishing trip on a schooner-rigged smack. A maelström, you probably know, is a violent whirlwind, a frenzied convulsive vortex of water. The depth of the maelstrom’s violent water might go to forty fathoms. If you were trapped inside this gyrating vortex, would you wait for death and spiral down into the abyss?

Or keep your eyes open in search of a rainbow?

Read it at Classic Literature:


If you prefer a narration, you might enjoy this two-part story (30 minutes total) on YOUTUBE:

Part I:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pNDxi7YQfo

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFH3hHY3XM


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