The Edgar Allan Poe Quiz


Poe's most famous work is a poem about what kind of bird?

"The Raven" made Poe famous, although it never made him very much money.

When the Raven enters the narrator's room, it lands on a bust of whom?

It perches on a pallid bust of Pallas above the door.

When, according to the Raven, will the narrator again see his lost Lenore?

Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

Poe's story "Ligeia" contains what other work of Poe's?

Ligeia herself recites "The Conqueror Worm" just before she dies. The poem had appeared previously as a separate piece.

What does the Conqueror Worm eat?

The Conqueror Worm emerges to eat the mimes, which are puppets in a play about the futility of human existence.

How did Poe die?

An incoherent Poe was found in Baltimore wearing someone else's clothes. He died a few days later in a hospital, never regaining consciousness long enough to explain what happened to him.

What was the name of the literary journal Poe was trying to launch when he died?

He was collecting subscriptions to help fund "The Stylus" in the months before his death.

Who committed "The Murders in the Rue Morgue?"

Two women are killed by an escaped orangutan.

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is cited as the first story in what popular genre?

C. Auguste Dupin is a brilliant analyst who solves the crime by carefully considering the evidence, hallmarks of what would become the detective story (although there were no people called detectives when Poe wrote it).

What are Prince Prospero and his noble friends hiding from in an isolated abbey hosting a masquerade ball?

They're avoiding a deadly plague called the Red Death in "The Masque of the Red Death."

Who is wearing the Red Death costume at the masquerade ball?

When the costume is pulled off, it is found to be empty, which suggests it was the embodiment of the Red Death itself that visited the abbey.

What happens when Roderick Usher dies?

In "The Fall of the House of Usher," the condition of the house is strangely linked to Roderick's physical condition. When he dies, so does the house.

What happens to Roderick's sister Madeline?

Madeline is entombed within the house while still alive, and when she finally escapes after two weeks, she and Roderick collapse and die together.

What is "The Cask of Amontillado?"

The narrator of the story gets a man named Fortunato drunk on the wine so he can be more easily murdered.

How does Montresor kill Fortunato?

Poe really had a thing for people being buried alive.

What happens to the narrator of "A Premature Burial?"

The narrator briefly thinks his worst fear has come true, but it turns out he's just on a boat. Told you Poe was fixated on this theme.

Who is torturing the narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum?"

The faceless judges who sentence him to torture are part of the Spanish Inquisition, an answer you were surely not expecting.

The pendulum threatens to slice into the narrator as it descends, but how does he almost fall into the pit?

He's saved from the pit just as the heated walls have forced him into it.

In "The Tell-Tale Heart," what physical feature of the old man drives the narrator to murder him?

The narrator is obsessed with the old man's eye, which he describes as a "vulture-eye."

Why does the narrator hear the beating of the old man's heart coming from underneath the floor boards?

The narrator is talking to some police officers directly above the spot where the old man's dismembered corpse is hidden.

What name did Poe publish his first book, "Tamerlane and other Poems," under?

The book was published anonymously with the only credit, "by a Bostonian." The discovery of a copy at an antique store in 1988 was a major rare book find.

What rank did Poe achieve when he was in the U.S. Army?

Poe was a Sergeant Major when he was discharged. He later attended West Point but again forced his own dismissal.

What was the title of Poe's only novel?

"The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" is a seafaring adventure that gets weirder and weirder.

Crimesolver C. Auguste Dupin from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" turns up again in ""The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" and what other Poe short story?

"The Purloined Letter" is the third story of the Dupin trilogy.

How does "The Black Cat" reveal the narrator's guilt in murdering his wife?

With Poe, when in doubt the answer involves someone or something being buried or bricked into a wall.

What did Poe consider, "the most poetical topic in the world?"

Several of Poe's stories and poems revolve around the death of a beautiful woman -- sometimes they even come back from the dead.

Why does the narrator of "Annabel Lee" think angels killed Annabel?

His love for Annabel was so powerful the angels got jealous and just straight up murdered her (probably not, but the guy's a little obsessed -- he sleeps next to Annabel's tomb every night).

What metaphor, enshrined in the title of a short story, did Poe use to describe a person's irrational tendency to commit self-destructive acts?

It's quite likely Poe had his own "Imp of the Perverse" undermining his career from time to time.

True or false: the movie "Inception" is a modernized adaptation of Poe's poem "A Dream Within a Dream."

"A Dream Within a Dream" does focus on the possibility that what we perceive as reality might be an illusion, but this is a common literary theme, and "Inception" isn’t directly based on the poem.

In "Hop-Frog," what does the protagonist do to the king and his men?

Anyone else think it's weird that Poe was really into orangutans?

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About This Quiz

Your spirit will love the eloquence and dismal beauty of this quiz which perches now upon your pallid browser -- 30 questions of formless gloom lurking just beyond the fulsome limit of your knowledge about the author and poet Edgar Allan Poe.

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