The Oval Portrait
Exercise: Question & Answers
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. Where did the narrator and his servant make forcible entrance?
→ The narrator and his servant made a forcible entrance into an abandoned Chateau in the Apennines.
b. Which special picture did the narrator notice in the room?
→ A miniature picture of a young girl in an oval shape caught the narrator’s eye.
c. Describe the portrait that the narrator saw in the room.
→ A picture in the room featured a woman painted in the vignette style. Arms, body side, and the very tip of the woman’s hair were all lost in the gloomy background. It was gold-plated and adorned in the Moresque style with an oval-shaped frame.
d. What is the relationship between the portrait painter and its subject?
→ Portrait painter and its subject have a husband-and-wife relationship. The subject’s (lady’s) spouse is an accomplished artist who created a portrait of his wife.
Reference to the context
a. What is the central theme of the story? Who is the woman depicted in the oval portrait?
→ In the short story “The Oval Portrait,” the relationship between life and art is a primary theme. Art and love have the ability to raise anybody to a greater degree of perfection, but they also have the potential to harm those around us. The story’s storyline highlighted the perils of developing a strong connection to anything. Art and love have the power to destroy everything that stands in their way.
The woman in the oval portrait is the painter’s wife, and he painted the oval portrait.
b. “The Oval Portrait’ is a short horror story by Edgar Allan Poe involving the disturbing circumstances surrounding a portrait in a chateau. Elaborate.
→ The Oval Portrait is a short story about a portrait photographer and the woman who becomes his victim.
When the narrator stayed in a room of the chateau that had been abandoned and was no longer being cared for, despite its magnificent façade and interior décor, they noticed a very lifelike portrait of a lady. While many of the objects in the chateau were valuable and historic, many of them were in poor condition. Many pieces of art and architectural buildings were undiscovered, because of their unscientific positions and as a result, they were all regarded as worthless. The painting was also hung on the wall of the chateau’s furthest tower. Because it was concealed, the guests couldn’t see it. The portrait was put in an insignificant location, lowering its value.
c. “The Oval Portrait’ suggests that the woman’s beauty condemns her to death. Discuss.
→ In his short story The Oval Portrait, Edgar Allan Poe not only examines the relationship between art and life, but he also makes many references, one of which is that the woman’s beauty would lead to her death. We find out whether the young girl was dead just because of her beautiful appearance.
Her husband wanted to photograph her since she was described as a beautiful lady in the story. He put a lot of effort into making his wife’s photo seem like her in real life. Because he was so dedicated to giving his art life, the portrait took him weeks to complete. Throughout the course of time, he viewed his wife as nothing more than a tool. He didn’t think about the fact that she was a person who had been in a dark room for a long time and might have perished.
She eventually dies as he finishes and exclaims, “This is really life itself!” Her sole cause for death was her attractiveness. In other words, her husband would not have wanted to paint her if she hadn’t been so breathtakingly beautiful, and she may still be alive today.
d. Discuss the story as a frame narrative (a story within a story).
→ The Oval Portrait, as a narrative frame, conveys a whole different story from the one shown in the mainstream story. The story’s narrator gets wounded and struck at night in the first section of the story. He and Pedro take refuge in an abandoned house. While his servant sleeps, the storyteller remains awake. He is enthralled by a picture on his bedroom wall, as well as a well- written book. He learns about a young lady from the novel after seeing a realistic picture of her.
Then, here starts the story within the story. The story describes a lovely lady marrying a painter who is totally engaged in his art. Even though she doesn’t like it, she is willing to sit behind the canvas for many weeks. At the conclusion of the picture, the woman’s health deteriorates significantly. He gets a delayed realisation as he finishes painting her portrait: she is dead. Hence, the story describes another story.
e. The story is told in a descriptive style, with plenty of imagery and symbolism. Which images and symbols do you find in the story?
→ Throughout the story, there are many images and symbols used. The author has effectively conveyed his horror components through visuals in this story, where darkness and light are used to great effect. The audience was instantly captivated by a feeling of tension with the background of a lonely Chateau in the Italian Apennines. The image of two strangers in a lonely setting aroused the reader’s attention. The author has used a variety of images throughout the Chateau to portray the setting, including houses, a creek, and more. Dark rooms, wall tapestries, trophies, an oval painting among other paintings, a candelabrum, a book, and light beams are just a few of the images on the storyline. The oval portrait uses oval forms to symbolise the transience of love and the indestructibility of art.
f. What does the expression “She was dead!” mean?
→ His expression of, “She’s dead!” means his realisation of his extreme love for his mtaerialistic work and neglection to the living. soul which ultimately caused the death of his wife. For a long time, his wife has been obedient to him. As time passed on the job, her health deteriorated. The painter, on the other hand, was completely oblivious of his wife’s deteriorating condition while he worked feverishly on the painting. The painter is pleased with the vividness of his work as he turns to face his wife, but he knows she is dead.
Reference beyond the text
a. Do you think there is life in art?
→ There is practically no life in art, apart from the apparent beauty and emotional
Art is the expression of human creativity and imagination, typically in the form of a visual medium such as painting or sculpture, with the goal of producing works that are pleasing to the eye or have an emotional effect. Unlike art, the continuation of any organism’s or plant’s presentation of a living activity, is referred to as life.
Art has no life of its own. It is nothing more than the pinnacle of a person’s creativity, inspiration, and technical ability. Death, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of life. As a result, art seems like a lifeless thing to me. However, when a piece of art approaches its subject, elicits an emotional response, and enlightens the viewer, it is said to have life of its own.
b. As a thing of art nothing could be more admirable than the painting itself. Explain.
→ Painting is one of the most impressive artistic mediums. The picture speaks for itself in a very direct way. Regarding painting, this statement is appropriate. As we saw in this story, when the narrator first saw the painting, he was flabbergasted. The oval picture is one of the most impressive and has taken the
storyteller completely by surprise in this story as well.
Similarly, The artists put in a lot of time and effort to produce beautiful works of art that have deeper significance. Good painting makes viewers curious about both it and the painter. So, painting is one of the most admirable art.
c. A more intense look at the painting reveals the illusion. Have you noticed any such painting?
→ I have not seen such a painting in real life. But I had heard a lot about the Monalisa portrait of Leonardo Da Vinchi. Around six million people each year visit to see this picture, which is protected behind bullet-proof glass at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The grin of the Mona Lisa is credited with its enduring fame. Chiaroscuro is believed to have been first used in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Strictly speaking, Mona Lisa is an accurate depiction of a human body whose proportions and measurements are in harmony with the basic principles of cosmology.
The oval portrait is a suspense story written by Edgar Allen Poe. Edgar Allan Poe, an author from the United States, wrote this short story. It is a story in the horror genre about the connection between art and life. This is a concise summary of the story “Life in Death,” which was originally much longer. Double narratives, also known as frame narratives, may be found wrapped throughout this particular story. A frame narrative is a story inside a story.
The tale starts with the narrator and his servant Pedro arriving at a desolate chateau in the Apennines in central Italy in the evening. The narrator was badly hurt for no clear reason. Given how freezing it was outdoors, the servant forcefully brought the narrator into the Chateau. They moved into one of the rooms in the chateau that was the smallest and had the fewest things in it. It had expensive decorations, but they were falling apart. There were a lot of old paintings, tapestries, and trophies that were not being cared for.
The narrator had a clear curiosity in the paintings that were hanging on the wall. He lit a candle from the candlestick that was placed at the top of his bed. In addition, the narrator discovered a little book lying on top of the pillow. He began reading a painting-related book. It was about twelve o’clock in the morning. His servant Pedro was asleep. The oval picture was seen when the storyteller moved the candlestick. It was a picture of a charming young woman. A good looking young woman’s head and shoulders were clearly visible.
According to the book, the lady in the oval picture was the painter’s wife. He wanted to paint his wife once. His wife sat alongside him. He began painting. He worked on it so much that it consumed him and he became completely dedicated to it. He painted for weeks. His wife was there for weeks without any care being provided for her. She weakened. Her husband never asked about her troubles. He continued drawing his wife. At long last, he completed the picture he’d been working on. He was pleased to show her his lovely painting. When he turned to her, he saw she was dead.