Volume 6, Issue 15, Spring 2011
The Anthropocentric Vision
Aesthetics of Effect and Terror in Poe’s “Hop-Frog”
The Anthropocentric Vision: Aesthetics of Effect and Terror in Poe’s ‘Hop-Frog’” develops the possible psycho-social results of emotional hegemony through a semi-anthropoid figure who avenges himself on a king desperate to assert and sustain supremacy over his subjects. This essay juxtaposes modern anthropological study and Poe’s fiction; it demonstrates that an anthropocentric study of the author’s aesthetics of terror in “Hop Frog” reveals that what we see and perceive as essential to the titular character’s poetics of revenge and hatred are nothing but a reflection of our (the readers’) own anthropocentrism. This anthropocentric study provides a glimpse into how humans perceive, adapt, and conquer adversarial forces within the society. However, the collapse of the apparent rational order, effected by Hop Frog at the end, also provides a glimpse into the nether side of human consciousness and its illimitable capacity to defy comprehension.