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Allegory of A Descent into the Maelstrom

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The story of A Descent into the Maelstrom that is written by Edgar Allan Poe is a story about an unnamed Norwegian fisherman who survives a shipwreck and a whirlpool and how he realises the mystery of the maelstrom that he states “The larger the bodies, the more rapid their descent”. Story contains some specific abstract principles, which are the existence of romanticism, dynamics of Hegal’s Absolute Spirit and the notion of God and Christian. Those principles are used as an allegory for turbulent of the lifetime in the short story of A Descent into the Maelstrom.

Firstly, the romantic existence is seen throughout the story that can be referred to the romanticist paintings of Casper Friedrick David. As it is shown in David’s paintings, there is an appearance of mystery and awesome creature of the nature. This can be seen in the description of the maelstrom and how the narrator realises the inscrutability of the nature. As a German romantic landscape painter, David also uses allegoric contemplation figures of the nature in his works. There is an emotional response to the natural world in David’s such paintings that can be example of the scene where the old man calms down at the climax of the maelstrom and thinks how magnificent that would be to die such a way and wait for his exploration in the depth of the maelstrom even if that action will cost his life. So we can see that there’s also an emotional response to the wilderness of the nature like the romantic paintings of Casper Friedrick David.

Secondly, the story of A Descent into the Maelstrom symbolically contains the dynamics of Hegel’s Absolute Spirit. For Hegel, history plays an important role on the human spirit. He believes that the history is the development and change that shapes the human experience and ultimate reality is found in human experience. For Hegel “ history is humanity’s progress from lesser to greater freedom” (193). In the story, the aging process of the old man can be referred to Hegel’s belief. The old man’s hair turns into gray and his stories into epic adventures. The process of surviving in the maelstrom is a representation of absolute spirit. Since the freedom is needed for the Spirit, it is the history that and experience that helps them progress their own freedom, which the old man proves this fact by his composed progress of surviving.

Thirdly, the story considers the notion of God and Christian morality. The power of God in nature is the based of the story. The fisherman realises that the supremacy of God’s power in nature is bigger than his own existence. He also recognizes that he is inadequate and values humility rather the pride of self-sufficiency. To obtain an eternal life, he has acknowledged the powerfulness of God in the universal hierarchy, which was one of the terms of the Christian dogma.

As a conclusion, A descent into maelstrom refer to many allegories in terms of the existence of romanticism, Hegel’s Absolute Spirit and notion of God and Christian. These principles are considered as a representation of turbulent of people’s period of life times.

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