32 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Gold Bug

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1843

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Important Quotes

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“What ho! What ho! This fellow is dancing mad! He hath been bitten by the Tarantula.”

(Page 7)

The story’s opening lines introduce the theme of “madness,” suggesting it can be caused by a Tarantula’s bite. The opening foreshadows Legrand’s strange behavior, which the other characters will mistake as a mental health condition, and that Jupiter believes is caused by a bite from the gold bug. However, because the epigraph is taken from a play called All in the Wrong, it also hints that the narrator and Jupiter will be mistaken as to the cause of Legrand’s comportment.

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“This IS a strange scarabaeus, I must confess; new to me; never saw anything like it before—unless it was a skull, or a death’s head, which it more nearly resembles than anything else that has come under MY observation.”

(Page 10)

In this quote, the narrator is confused by what he thinks is Legrand’s drawing of the beetle but is actually Captain Kidd’s depiction of a skull. The skull imagery introduces ominous overtones into the story. With its traditional association with danger and death, the appearance of the skull presages challenging times for the characters, as Legrand wrestles with the encrypted message, and the narrator and Jupiter try to understand the other man’s strange behavior.