True love. Everyone wants to find it at some point in their life. While reading "The Spectacles" by Edgar Allan Poe, the reader was struck at how lucky the main character, Simpson, was to have found true love. The first time Simpson sees Madame Lalande, he is at a performance with one of his friends. Upon seeing Madame Lalande, he is instantly besotted with her and just has the urge to get to know her, as she is quite beautiful (Poe). However, Simpson has extremely poor eyesight, which the reader later find out has consequences that go with it in the end.

According to World Book Online, Romanticism is described as emphasizing passion rather than reason, and imagination and intuition rather than logic. Romanticism favors full expression of the emotions, and free, spontaneous action rather than restraint and order (Lipking). In the short story "The Spectacles", Poe talks greatly about the emotions of Simpson and in the end, the reader discovers that the lady Simpson has been openly courting is actually an eighty-year-old woman who is his great grandmother (Poe). Upon reading that, the reader was struck at how funny the story actually was, because Simpson went and devoted a large majority of his time to this woman; only to find out he is courting his great grandmother. Through the use of emotions, the readers can gain a better insight as to what the main character is feeling, and his various reactions, especially when he finds out that he was dating his grandmother.

"'Why, in the name of all that is angelic, don't you know who she is? ‘ Not to know her argues yourself unknown.’ She is the celebrated Madame Lalande -- the beauty of the day par excellence, and the talk of the whole town. Immensely wealthy too -- a widow, and a great match -- has just arrived from Paris' (Poe).” Those are the words that allow Simpson to know who the woman is that he has fallen in love with. His emotions get a hold of him, and he just falls head over heels in love with this beautiful woman, which is one characteristic of Romanticism: just go with what feels right and not what could be the correct thing to do (Lipking).

Edgar had quite a troubling life growing up. His father left him and his mother died when he was just two years old. Also, he never really seemed to get his true love, which is the basis of this story because Edgar married his cousin Virginia, so it is not like he went out into the world to exactly find the perfect match for him (Ljungquist). That is one thing that seems troubling. His life did affect his work, especially this story. Because, since he never did find his true love so to speak, he had to live his life through his characters, in this case, Simpson. In addition, Poe found it to be clever to add a twist to the end of the story by having the woman he is so madly in love with be his great grandmother. It just so happened that people got their wires crossed and thought Madame Lalande was someone else. It was quite an interesting ending, which also ties into Edgar's life, as he was not able to find his happily ever after, according to some people, as he dies just four days before he is to marry his childhood sweetheart (Ljungquist).

Edgar Allan Poe has many common and well known works that have been talked about everywhere. Although "The Spectacles" is not a well known story, the tale is still able to be compared to his other works, as well as itself. Edgar did not have much experience with love in his life, so he chose to write about unique situations in his stories. Along with "The Spectacles," Edgar also wrote Eleonora, a love story which has been said parallels his love for his wife, Virginia. In Eleonora, Poe talks of a beautiful woman who he falls in love with, only to have her pass away and he marries another (Poe). This story can compare to "The Spectacles" with its tale of finding love, only to have it swept up from under him, which again, can go back to Poe's life. He married Virginia, and after she passed away, he was going to marry his childhood sweetheart when he got ill and passed away four days later (Ljungquist). Therefore, the love stories Poe writes all relate back to his life in some way. They all have a common theme of having the characters find someone they care about deeply only to have them taken away from them in some way.

Romanticism in Edgar Allan Poe's writings are all quite similar. He uses his life's experiences as a basis for his stories, much like he did in "The Spectacles. (Poe, Ljungquist)" Although the theme of love is quite common throughout novels of all kinds, no one can really write such a unique story like Edgar Allan Poe can. He delivers the story with all of the characteristics of Romanticism, which include the boldness of the characters and heavy use of emotions that the reader gets caught up in the story right up until the very end (Lipking). Therefore, reading "The Spectacles" was no different, as the reader got swept up into the plot right until the very end, making for an interesting story.


Works Cited:



  • Lipking, Lawrence. "Romanticism." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2010. Web. 7 Dec. 2010.

  • Ljungquist, Kent. "Poe, Edgar Allan." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2010. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.


  • Poe, Edgar Allan. The Spectacles.1844. World Book Advanced. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.