Poe's Short Stories

The Purloined Letter

What purpose did Poe have for using the letter in the story.

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Despite all the discussion concerning the whereabouts of the letter in "The Purloined Letter," the letter itself is merely a literary device around which Poe constructs a game of wits. The contents of the letter and its implications in the political sphere are not included because the plot does not need them, and any other object would have served just as well. Significantly, when Dupin finally finds the letter, the Minister has placed it carelessly into a rack hanging from the fireplace after folding it inside-out and making it appear insignificant. The manner of his hiding the letter is extremely relevant for the purposes of the story, but its inconsequential appearance reflects its relative importance in the novel. We might also consider it ironic that after all the fuss over the letter, its contents will never become any more public to the fictional world of Dupin than it will to the reader.