Jorge Borges: Short Stories

A Comparison and Contrast Study: Poe's and Borges’ Labyrinths College

A labyrinth, on the surface, can be described as “a place constructed of or full of intricate passageways and blind alleys” (Merriam-Webster), but it can also be characterized as “something extremely complex or tortuous” (Merriam-Webster). Both Poe and Borges intertwine labyrinths into their works, for example, Poe focuses on the more nonphysical representation of a labyrinth whereas Borges chooses to represent the labyrinth as a physical maze. The reader must pay close attention to the architectures of both variations – a detail that reveals how each labyrinth is different or similar. Labyrinths take on different interpretations and forms based on those who spawn them, but it is apparent similarities in the structure and entrapment of those within.

The major differences between the two authors’ short stories is evident in how the labyrinths were presented. For example, Poe’s labyrinth is present throughout the short story, while Borges’ labyrinth only appears at the end of Lonnröt’s investigation. Poe’s interpretation in “The Purloined Letter” involves a labyrinth based on ignorance keeping the trapped from progressing, alternatively Borges’ interpretation in “Death and the Compass” ostensibly consists of a labyrinth that...

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