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Creator / Edgar Allan Poe

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The world's most famous daguerreotype.

"Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, speech at the Authors' Club in London (March 1, 1909)

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, the inventor of the modern horror story and the modern detective story, as well as an early influence on the science fiction genre.

Poe believed that all stories should be short enough to be read in one sitting. He also believed that the perfect subject for poetry is the death of a beautiful young womannote  (which should tell you volumes about his own love life, not to mention the death of his mother and his adoptive mother at a young age). After the death of his parents, he was taken in by a foster family and spent some of his childhood abroad, spending a couple of years in a boarding school in England before returning to America at the age of 11. After squandering his college tuition money gambling, he enlisted in the US Army at the age of 18. He published his first work, Tamerlane and Other Poems, while serving as an artilleryman at Fort Independence, Boston, Massachusetts. After securing an early discharge, he was accepted to the Military Academy at West Point, but gave up on it after a falling-out with his adoptive father, though he was popular enough that his fellow cadets chipped in enough money to help him publish another book of his poetry. Moving to New York, he became a full-time writer, and struggled financially for the rest of his short life until his death in Baltimore, Maryland at age 40.

Poe's life was plagued by rifts with his adoptive father, deaths of numerous loved ones, and alcoholism. Typical. He was also a noted Caustic Critic, which earned him a few enemies and tarnished his reputation, despite the critical acclaim that he received.

After Poe's death his literary executor (who was also one of his greatest enemies in the literary world) sought to destroy Poe's reputation with lies and forgeries. The Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe by James Albert Harrison actually provides evidence from eyewitness accounts that suggest he wasn't quite an alcoholic at all. That said, even without it, he still had way more than enough "inspiration" for his work.

He also created the first notable introverted Great Detective character of C. Auguste Dupin who, operating independently of the police force, solved crimes via his great observation and reasoning skills while assisted by his Heterosexual Life Partner and roommate, who also narrates the stories. Sound familiar?

Along with his detective fiction and poetry, Poe is celebrated for his wonderfully gothic and macabre horror fiction which did away with traditional themes of simple ghosts and witches. These stories would go on to influence dozens of authors who would expand and refine the genre, and they were loved most greatly by a certain Mr Howard Phillips Lovecraft, an introverted fellow who'd go on to set the tone of horror fiction for the rest of the 20th century. Poe also wrote quite a lot of humor (often dark humor, admittedly), which may come as a surprise to those who know his works only from assigned readings in high school.

Poe was a Baltimorean, and "The Raven" is the namesake of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

His works were the inspiration for the first album from The Alan Parsons Project and for a series of PC mystery games called the Dark Tales. His work is also one of the inspirations for the Mount & Blade Game Mod Solid & Shade. He received his own adaptations (and not just of the titular story) in The Fall of the House of Usher (2023).

Works by Edgar Allan Poe with their own trope pages include:

Edgar Allan Poe's other works provide examples of:

  • After the End: "The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion"
  • Answering Echo: In "Never Bet the Devil Your Head".
    "What right," said I, "had the old gentleman to make any other gentleman jump? The little old dot-and-carry-one! who is he? If he asks me to jump, I won't do it, that's flat, and I don't care who the devil he is." The bridge, as I say, was arched and covered in, in a very ridiculous manner, and there was a most uncomfortable echo about it at all times-an echo which I never before so particularly observed as when I uttered the four last words of my remark.
  • Apocalyptic Log: "M.S. Found In A Bottle". Also the obvious.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: "Hop-Frog" among others.
  • Asshole Victim:
  • Author Appeal: Dead women, lost loves, and illness, considering his life events.
  • Author Tract: "The Imp of the Perverse".
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: In particular, the word "arabesque."
  • Based on a Great Big Lie:
    • No, The Spanish Inquisition didn't really kill people with a slowly lowering bladed pendulum, as seen in "The Pit and the Pendulum". Although considering the story is set during the Peninsular Wars, it was never meant to be historically accurate.
    • "The Balloon-Hoax": a fictional short story written by Poe that was originally released as being a newspaper article of an actual event. He then showed up at the place where the hot-air balloon was supposed to arrive and explained to everyone that he'd just fooled them all with his writing. It was a publicity stunt and it worked.
    • "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is written in a style which deliberately apes that of sensationalist stories of the time which were nevertheless purported to be true, and such was the realism of the "scientific" details that, when coupled with the fact that its initial publication occurred in a newspaper (not a literary journal) and without an author identified caused countless people to believe it was a true story. (It helps that the main conceit of the story, exploring the limits and possibilities of mesmerism, was something which was very much in vogue at the time it was written.) Eventually, after a fair amount of time during which Poe very much enjoyed Trolling the public, and several reputable people claimed the case (or one they knew of similar to it) had actually happened, he finally admitted that it was a piece of fiction.
  • Bedlam House: "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," Poe's personal favorite of his stories.
  • Body Horror: Poe's works aren't normally known for this, other than the disturbing teeth removal in "Berenice"—which is why the exception at the climax of "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is so very memorable, hair-raising, and macabre. There's a reason three different authors of the time described it as his most shocking, disgusting, and gruesome tale.
    • Played for rather nasty comedy in "The Man Who Was Used Up".
    • In-universe, this haunts the narrator (before and after) of "The Tell-Tale Heart."
  • Breather Episode: In between the heavy stories, Poe published comedies such as "The Angel of the Odd" and "Thingum Bob, Esq".
  • Buried Alive:
    • In "Berenice", this happens to the titular character and it's implied that her cousin, Egaeus buried her, due to his obsession with her.
    • In "The Black Cat", the protagonist ends up murdering his wife in a fit of fury directed at the title cat, and "buries" her in his basement wall. When the police inspect his house, they're led to the tomb by the cat's screams, the protagonist having buried it alive with her without noticing it.
    • The story "The Premature Burial", which explores several nonfictional cases and has a protagonist terrified that it will happen to him. It doesn't, but a frightening experience that simulates it helps him overcome his paranoia at the prospect.
    • Fortunato in "The Cask of Amontillado", though strictly speaking he is walled up rather than buried.
    • This was also Poe's personal Author Phobia; he was notoriously terrified of being buried alive, to the point where he would reportedly often go to sleep wearing a sign informing the reader that he was only sleeping, not actually dead. Being buried alive was (and still is) a genuine Primal Fear. It was common back in a time of poor medical treatment to be declared dead when you're just in a fever-induced coma: waking up in a coffin was a real and terrifying possibility.
  • "Burly Detective" Syndrome: In "Bon-Bon" Pierre Bon-Bon, a French restaurant owner-turned-metaphysical philosopher, has a conversation with the Devil. When he is not called by name, Bon-Bon is variously referred to as "our hero", "the metaphysician", "the philosopher" and "the restaurateur"; the Devil (when he is not called thusly) is alternately spoken of as "his Majesty", "the visitor", and "the gentleman" (there are only two characters in the story). The entire story is written in a markedly verbose and florid style, apparently in ironical intent.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: In the poem "Eldorado", a knight spends his whole life searching for the mystical golden city, only to meet Death when he's an old man, who tells him that Eldorado is located in the land of the dead; so he must die to reach it, and by that point he won't be able to reap any rewards.
  • The Case of...: His horror story, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" was an early proto-example of this, before it was properly codified.
  • The Cat Came Back: Literally in "The Black Cat".
  • The Cavalry: The narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum", a captive of the Spanish Inquisition, is saved from his death trap prison at the last moment by French troops moving into Toledo. This places the story during the Peninsular War (1807-1814).
  • Cooking the Live Meal: In "Bon-Bon", a short story about a French chef's conversation with the Devil, the Devil reminisces about all the famous sinners whose souls he claims to have eaten in Hell, and especially fondly recalls "Quinty" Horace, who entertained him by singing his famous carmen saeculare just while the Devil "toasted him, in pure good humour on a fork."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Averted in most of his stories but a common feature of his book reviews. Poe was an acute critic who passed the essential test of perceiving who of his own contemporaries were talented: he was very positive about Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Dickens and cautiously approving about Longfellow, but less gifted writers he gleefully beat into a fine paste. Choice examples are his reviews of Theodore S. Fay's Norman Leslie, George Jones's Ancient America, and the most famous of all, the so-called Drake-Halleck Review, a brutal takedown of Joseph Rodman Drake's The Culprit Fay and other Poems and Fitz Greene Halleck's Alnwick Castle, with other Poems.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "The Oblong Box", a young widower on a sea-journey keeps the embalmed corpse of his wife in a wooden luggage box to transport the body to his wife's hometown.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His book reviews are made of this, especially the negative ones. In an otherwise positive review of Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America, there's this relatively mild example:
    The volume opens with a preface, which with some little supererogation, is addressed "To the Reader"; inducing very naturally the query, whether the whole book is not addressed to the same individual.
  • Death Trap: "The Pit and the Pendulum" may be the Trope Maker - featuring, among other nasty things, a Descending Ceiling, Closing Walls and a Bottomless Pit.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Poe often featured this trope. Incidentally, they tend to be pale from sickness, but in a pretty way.
    • The titular Berenice has some sort of degenerative condition where she has fits of catalepsy.
    • It's implied that Lenore was this.
    • Eleonora as well.
  • Depth Deception: "The Sphinx".
  • Drugs Are Bad: Well, alcohol is bad, in the sense that it's used to set up misdeeds in "The Black Cat", "The Cask of Amontillado", and "Hop-Frog." Poe was generally realistic about it, thanks in part to personal experience. Maybe.
    • And the eponymous "Angel of the Odd" is a divine entity made of bottles and kegs who ruins the narrator's life through a series of Contrived Coincidences.
  • Evil Twin: "William Wilson" is something of an inversion; the narrator is a Villain Protagonist with a Doppelgänger who deliberately foils his schemes. Ultimately, said doppelganger is revealed to be the living personification of his conscience.
  • Eye Scream: "The Black Cat".
  • Eyeless Face: The Devil in "Bon-Bon" (1835), when first appearing to the eponymous protagonist, wears a pair of green sunglasses that completely hide his eyes. In the course of the ensuing philosophical conversation, he removes the glasses and thereby reveals that he has neither eyes nor eyesockets. He helpfully explains that he has a different kind of vision that not only allows him to perceive his physical surroundings like any human, but also to "see" the thoughts and minds of living beings. Moreover, in the Devil's workplace physical eyes would only be an "incumbrance, liable at any time to be put out by a roasting-iron or a pitchfork."
  • Feuding Families: The Metzengersteins and the Berlifitzings in "Metzengerstein," due to an ambiguous prophecy that one of them would eventually destroy the other.
  • Forbidden Fruit
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "The Bells" is divided into "Sleigh Bells," "Wedding Bells," "Fire Bells," and "Funeral Bells". Guess which is lingered on longest?
  • For the Evulz: The narrator in "The Black Cat" killed his pet cat, as he explains, for no other reason than knowing that it was wrong to do so.
  • Funetik Aksent: Jupiter's "Negro dialect" is written this way in "The Gold Bug," with a little bit of African Speekee Engrish and Buffy Speak as well.
    • The eponymous character of "Angel of the Odd" has his dialogue typed out as it were in a German accent. Or French. Maybe Spanish?
  • Gas Chamber: The narrator of "The Imp of the Perverse" manages this with a "poisoned candle".
  • Goth: Unbuilt Trope.
  • Gothic Literature: Popularized the genre in public consciousness.
  • Grand Theft Me: "Ligeia." It's a variation though involving swapping bodies and transformation.
  • Hellish Horse: A mysterious red horse features in "Metzengerstein." He exerts some compulsion on the titular Baron Metzengerstein and eventually carries him to his death in a fire.
  • Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Signora Psyche Zenobia in "How to Write a Blackwood Article" writes a story about a lovely and refined lady named... Signora Psyche Zenobia.
  • How We Got Here: Quite frequent, always overlapping with Foregone Conclusion.
  • Inhuman Eye Concealers: In the short storty "Bon-Bon" the Devil, when visiting a French restaurateur, wears a "pair of green spectacles, with side glasses", seemingly to "protect his eyes from the influence of the light". In the course of their conversation, the Devil takes off his glasses, revealing to his astonished host that he has no eyes at all.
  • Inspired by…: His unfinished play Politian was a fictionalization of a famous duel case of the time.
  • Invisible Writing: In "The Gold Bug", the whole plot is triggered by a piece of parchment being accidentally held near a fire long enough to bring out a message in invisible ink.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Poe uses the phrase in "The Bargain Lost", a 1832 short story (set in Venice) about a wannabe philosopher meeting the Devil. Poe later rewrote this tale into "Bon-Bon" (1835), in which the phrase does no longer appear verbatim, but has been replaced by an equally flowery paraphrase. In either case this seems to be satire, as throughout either "The Bargain Lost" or "Bon-Bon" Poe affects an overly ornate, flowery and long-winded style that signals that the story is not to be taken seriously.
  • It Will Never Catch On: "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade" is written as an epilogue to the Arabian Nights, in which Scheherazade makes the mistake of putting modern (for Poe's time) inventions in one of her stories, causing the disbelieving sultan to have her executed.
    • Also invoked in Real Life by "Eureka" which postulates absurd theories the modern reader will recognize as the Bohr model, the Big Bang, and general relativity... in 1848.
  • Karma Houdini: In "The Cask of Amontillado", Montresor apparently never gets found out for murdering Fortunato.
    • Subverted in "The Imp of the Perverse": the narrator ran absolutely no risk of being exposed as a murderer unless he himself confessed. And once he realised that, he was doomed.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Virginia.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Subverted, as Berenice doesn't reciprocate her cousin's feelings (if she's aware of them).
    • Eleonora on the other hand definitely does feel the same as her cousin, with an ever-so-slightly happier result.
  • Leave No Witnesses: In "The Gold-Bug", the narrator and his fellow treasure hunters succeed in finding the treasure of Captain Kidd. They dig up two human skeletons immediately above the treasure chest, and infer that the dead men were Kidd's companions who helped him bury the chest, and that Kidd murdered them so he would be the only one to know the location of the treasure.
  • Locked into Strangeness/Disease Bleach: The old man in "A Descent Into the Maelstrom" isn't nearly as old as he seems...
  • Love at First Sight: Parodied and gleefully deconstructed in "The Spectacles", in which a short-sighted young man falls in love with a beautiful young woman at the theater, and ends up marrying her, only to find out she is actually his own great-great-grandmother from France who wanted to teach him a lesson for not wearing glasses and hitting on unknown women at the theater. The wedding was a fake wedding, of course.
  • Love Hurts: Let's put it this way — if the character loves a woman, she's on death row. This was probably inspired by the fact that basically every woman he ever loved in any way (his mother, foster mother, girlfriends, and his wife) all died young, mostly from tuberculosis.
    • Averted in "Hop-Frog" when Hop-Frog and his beloved Trippetta escape to their own country at the end of the story.
  • Lovecraft Country: Helped inspire Lovecraft.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Played for laughs in the comedy story (yes, really) "The Spectacles," where the extremely near-sighted narrator falls in love with a beautiful woman who turns out to be his great-great-grandmother.
  • Macabre Moth Motif: In The Sphinx.
  • Malaproper: "How to Write a Blackwood Article" is about Signora Psyche Zenobia asking Mr. Blackwood for advice about what she should put into the article she wants to write for his magazine, and he gives her lots of allusions from classical and European literature to sprinkle into her prose (such as this quote from Friedrich Schiller: "Und sterb'ich doch, so sterb'ich denn / Durch sie — durch sie!" ["And if I died, at least I died for thee — for thee!"]) "A Predicament" is the article she actually writes, and she ended up mangling all the quotes. ("Unt stubby duk, so stubby dun / Duk she! duk she!") Some collections of Poe's stories publish "A Predicament" without including "How to Write a Blackwood Article", which leaves the fomer story making absolutely no sense.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Recurring in various of his stories, like "Ligeia" or "The Black Cat", which the weird things happening can either be from a supernatural source or just the protagonist becoming mad.
  • Masquerade Ball: "The Masque of the Red Death"; "Hop-Frog".
  • Meaningful Name: Allamistakeo in "Some Words With a Mummy."
  • Mood Dissonance: Lampshaded and justified in "Thou Art the Man": the narrator is the one who set up the apparent "miracle," and knows what really happened.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: "Annabel Lee", though it takes a while to realize it.
  • Mummy: "Some Words With a Mummy", appropriately enough. This is an unusual case where the mummy isn't Undead- he went into a cataleptic state and didn't come out for thousands of years. Since he was of a particular group known as the Scarabeus, he was fortunate enough not to get his internal organs removed during embalming.
  • Narrative Poem: Several shortish examples, most famously "The Raven".
  • Nightmare Retardant: Done intentionally in ''The Premature Burial''. The whole point of the short story was to serve as Nightmare Retardant for the Poe himself.
  • No Ending: "The Devil in the Belfry", among others.
  • No Immortal Inertia: "The Facts in the Case of M.Valdemar"
  • No Name Given: This is actually quite frequent in Poe. It's generally an omission as a result of first-person narration, with the exception of the protagonist of "William Wilson," who refuses to give his name because he's piled too much infamy upon it.
  • Noodle Incident: Readers rarely get to learn why the narrator is pursuing a cold and cruel revenge against his nemesis/victim. There was some slight made back well before the story, but it's never mentioned and most of the time the victim doesn't even remember what it was.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In "The Pit and the Pendulum", we never find out what is in the pit.
  • The Noun and the Noun: Most of the titles
  • Oddball in the Series: Some collections of Poe's short stories will include several essays he wrote in the fiction section. Some will either exclude them or give them their own section. In comparison to most of Poe's comical and horror stories and sketches some of these stand out as being different from the rest of the works. Some clearly were written in-character which would make fitting to put them in the fiction section but others are instead rather straight forward producing this feeling to the reader.
  • One-Book Author: He wrote a lot of poems and short stories, and even more essays, articles and book reviews, but The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was his only novel.
  • Pendulum of Death: "The Pit and the Pendulum" is the Trope Maker for this particular Death Trap.
  • Pirate Booty: "The Gold-Bug" involves three men - one of them recently bitten by a golden scarab - going off on a treasure hunt for Captain Kidd's buried loot.
  • Prophecy Twist: "Metzengerstein" predicts that one family will destroy the other when "like the rider over his horse, the mortality of Metzengerstein shall triumph over the immortality of Berlifitzing." It comes to pass when the dead Count Berlifitzing, apparently reincarnated as a horse, carries the living Baron Metzengerstein into a fire.
  • Psychological Horror: A lot of the horror stories have no gore at all, and when there is some it's dealt with quickly.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Poe's own death, fittingly enough.
  • Royal Inbreeding: In "The Fall of The House of Usher", it is mentioned that the Usher family tree is a straight line. This leads many readers to suspect an incest-subtext in the relation between Madeleine and Roderick Usher.
  • Sanity Slippage: Many a Poe protagonist suffers this plight.
  • Scenery Porn: "The Domain of Arnheim" is arguably Scenery Porn Without Plot.
    • "The Island of the Fay" to a lesser extent.
  • Self-Parody: In "The Sphinx", the narrator is terrified and thrown into full-blown Poe melodramatics by what appears to be a terrifying apparition of death. It turns out to be just a harmless moth magnified by the window he was sitting next to.
    • "Eureka" takes Dupin's method of reasoning to absurd conclusions. Which were mostly right.
    • "A Predicament" takes a very Poe-esque horror set-up (a woman explores a church tower, sticks her head out through an opening in the clock face, and finds that her head gets stuck as the minute hand comes around and starts slicing through her neck) and tells it with massive amounts of Stylistic Suck and the victim narrating her own death.
  • Serial Prostheses: "The Man Who Was Used Up"
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Poe's works as a whole provide an excellent demonstration of how the scale works. Both his serious stories and his more comical ones tend to be written in the same overall tone, with only certain details and The Reveal at the end determining whether the overall effect is either spine-chilling or morbidly amusing.
  • Southern Gothic Satan: In the satirical short story "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" an elderly gentleman in a well-tailored suit takes the narrator's friend up on the titular rhetorical wager.
  • Spoof Aesop: "Never Bet the Devil Your Head", one of his less serious stories.
  • Stable Time Loop: "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains".
  • Stalker without a Crush: In "The Man in the Crowd" (1840), the narrator, sitting in a London coffee shop and observing the people rushing by, is intrigued by a lone old man who wears ragged but formerly expensive clothes. Taken with the idea that there is some peculiar, possibly terrible secret about the man, the narrator decides to follow the stranger in order to learn about him. After shadowing the man a whole night and part of the next day, without the man ever noticing he is being stalked, the narrator ends his chase after having realized (his only definite insight) that the man is persistently avoiding to be alone.
  • Springtime for Hitler: A certain Rufus Wilmot Griswold was a thorn in the side of Poe. After Poe's death, Griswold tried hard to ruin Poe's reputation. Most famously, he wrote a subversive biography where Poe was depicted as arrogant, evil, constantly drunk or high and very mentally unstable. Unfortunately for Griswold, this didn't deter people from enjoying Poe, instead spawned interest in the author and made him a legend surrounded by myths. Who wouldn't want to read a story written by a man who was described as being "evil"?note 
    • While Poe's reputation in America suffered thanks to Griswold, Poe's reputation and influence in France kept growing, and eventually worked its way back to the United States where Poe's name was rehabilitated.
  • Start of Darkness: "William Wilson".
  • Stealth Parody: "How to Write a Blackwood Article," in which "sensation stories" (i.e., stories that chronicle the narrator's descent into madness and/or death) are dissected and mercilessly mocked, hints that some of Poe's best-known psychological horror stories like "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" might have been sly jabs at the genre.
  • Take That, Audience!/Self-Deprecation: "The Premature Burial." In the end, having mistakenly thought himself buried alive and found that he wasn't, the narrator overcomes his fears. One of the changes is that he "read no bugaboo tales—such as this." (Italics Poe's.)
  • Tar and Feathers: "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Whatever you do, please don't doubt odd coincidences, the Angel of the Odd's way to convince you must be read to be believed.
    • There's also the Imp of the Perverse, which is that little whispering voice in your head that tries to tempt you into doing something stupid precisely because you know it's stupid, but you keep imagining what it would be like to do it anyway...
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Too many times to count. Interestingly, these protagonists are almost always Talkative Loons who're clearly nuts, with the exception of the one in "Ligeia", who's merely on drugs and may have seen clearly.
  • Title Drop: A few times, most dramatically in "The Man Who Was Used Up" and "The Man of the Crowd".
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Quite a few of Poe's stories have a recurring theme of young, beautiful, strong and intelligent women falling terminally ill, suffering a slow death and ultimately leaving their partners in deep depression. Many point to Poe's cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm, whom he married when he was 27 and she was 13 and, according to sources, had a Like Brother and Sister relationship with, up until her death from tuberculosis at age 24, for being the inspiration for those.
  • Treasure Map: The encrypted message that leads to Captain Kidd's buried gold in "The Gold-Bug" is essentially a treasure map.
  • Undead Author: Parodied in "A Predicament", where Signora Psyche Zenobia narrates a story that ends with her having her neck sliced off by the minute hand of a church clock.
  • Video Game Adaptation: Several of his stories have received/are receiving these in the Dark Tales, a series of PC Hidden Object Games from developer ERS.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: "The Pit And The Pendulum".
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". Each also fits a second trope, respectively While Rome Burns and Balancing Death's Books.
    • Also in "The Premature Burial". Subverted when it turns out that the narrator hasn't actually been buried — but the scare he got was real.