Friday, March 03, 2006


First Publication:

Democratic Review. June, 1845.

Subsequent Publication History:

Broadway Journal. October 25, 1845.

Works II. 1850.


The Power of Words is a prose poem.


The Power of Words is considered by Mabbott to be the best of "Poe's three imaginary dialogues of blessed spirits in heaven." The story is composed of a dialogue between Oinos and Agathos. According to Mabbott, "Oinos here means 'One' and Agathos means 'Good.' The conversation between the two takes place in the future, after the destruction of the World. In The Power of Words, Poe discusses the creation of the universe and develops the idea that God only created in the beginning. Poe expresses the belief that a spirit's willingness to gain knowledge is the direct cause of happiness for the spirit and spearheads a neverending quest for more information. "As no thought can perish, so no act is without infinite result. Since every vibration once set in motion is eternal, the power of the word once spoken is also everlasting."


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