50 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1841

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Character Analysis

The Narrator

One of the defining features of the narrator is his obscurity. He speaks cordially to his audience, which suggests familiarity with them. However, with each passing paragraph, few details emerge regarding his background, his drives apart from the investigation, or even his actual name. What is clear is how he fills his subservient role in relation to Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin. The main elements associated with the detective fiction genre began with Poe’s inception; therefore, the indivisible link between Dupin and his nameless partner seals the perpetual literary function of the investigative pair. The narrator admires and supports the bedazzling brilliance of his detective friend. It is as though he is the mirror upon which Dupin looks. As such, he is a passive observer—the one who projects the action originating from the enigmatic detective. On a deeper level, the duo creates a functional codependency, a cyclical dynamic of opposites where Dupin bestows seemingly celestial knowledge to the narrator who receives it.

Unique to the genre is the narrator’s voice, which is mostly featured as expository and prosaic. However, Poe does not leave his narrator completely flat and pedantic. He allows him to question and emotionally react, albeit sparingly, adding a much-needed element when combined with a more mechanized Dupin.