The Oval Portrait

By: Jake Cowlishaw

Eccentricity

In the story, compared to the artist of the paintings, Poe was often eccentric about things in his life, most notably his writings and his fear of premature burial.

Love/Loss

Anyone who's read any amount of Poe's work can tell you that he experienced much loss and it was made clear in many of his works; at a very young age he ended up having no father, mother, or sister, and eventually the loss of his only true love.

Obsession

Much like the painter in the story, Poe often obsessed about things. As mentioned above one of those things was his fear of his catalepsy, a condition that causes random death-like spells where someone could easily have been buried alive at the time.

Death

In the story the painters wife died because he was obsessing over the painting, a woman the painter loved very much. Poe also lost someone he loved very much, not necessarily because of his passion but still.

Closure

At the end of the story the unnamed narrator leaves the painting alone and attempts to sleep, having had his fill of the strange and slightly unseeingly life-like painting. You can see Poe doing this sometimes, kind of stepping away from the loss of his dearly beloved for some time and sort of taking an emotional break.