Structural Criticism on "The Purloined Letter"

Essay by mariah1 January 2003

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The narrator and Dupin are in Dupin's office then Monsieur G (the prefect) comes and tells them the story of a purloined letter which was stolen by the minister. Despite all the attempts and researches it cannot be found.

While trying to find the letter what the police did are all catalysers. While talking about the event Dupin tells "Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you at fault." This sentence has an important role in the resolution part. So we can say that it is nuclei.

"The Purloined Letter" is an extra ordinary example of detective stories, because there is generally a murderer, too much blood in detective stories and throughout the story the detective tries to find the criminal, but in this story the criminal is known, the minister, and the problem is a stolen letter which is extremely important for a married lady from the royal family.

The detective repeats the crime, but only in his investigative and narrative reconstruction of it.

Before the story begins: The Queen conceals her affair from the King (power) so that the King's authority is not threatened.

At the beginning of the story this delicate balance is broken by Minister D. Minister D's concealment of the letter and his disclosure to the Queen of the fact of his holding the letter. The Queen is under Minister D's power because she knows (as shown by the Minister) that he holds and hides the letter.

The MinisterLetterThe lady



DupinThe ladyThe prefect

After telling how and by whom the letter was stolen, the prefect leaves. About a month later he comes back to tell that he listened to what Dupin had advised and made a thorough re-search of the premises, but...