Biblical Allusions

Slaughter of the Innocents

In chapter two, Tom manipulates Ben Rogers into whitewashing Aunt Polly’s fence for him. Twain comments that while Ben “worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist [Tom] sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents.” MATTHEW 2:1-18 gives an […]

Balm in Gilead

Tagged With: , - THE RAVEN

Poe’s troubled narrator asks the black bird, “On this home by Horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore – / Is there – Is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’” GENESIS 37 : 25 records the Israelites carried on trade in “spices, balm, and myrrh” with the “Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead…”

Inherited Guilt

Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel communicated that the old proverb, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, / And the children’s teeth are set on edge,” giving credence to the idea of inherited guilt, was not to be used any longer in Israel, but rather “every one shall die for his own iniquity [sin]; every man who […]


Tagged With: , , , - LIGEIA

Poe refers to the false goddess Ashtoreth, also referred to as Astarte and other variations of the name, who presides over his wedding to Ligeia: “…if ever she, the wan and the misty-winged Ashtophet of idolatrous Egypt, presided, as they tell, over marriages ill-omened, then most surely she presided over mine.” Ashtoreth is the Canaanite […]