Midterm Paper

Midterm Paper - Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01 Game Theory...

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Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01 Game Theory Readers of detective novels quickly learn to be “prepared for the reality of the unusual and immune against the deception of the probable” (Alewyn 77). Thus, readers prepare themselves to think outside the scope of the ordinary. However, they also remain mindful that detective stories will take place within the realm of the possible; for reality is essential for the author to make a valid statement about justice in his society, and reason is the detective’s greatest instrument in his search for the truth. It is on this defined playing field of reason that the author of the detective genre establishes an antagonistic relationship between the detective and reader. This “game aspect” of detective novels occurs between players on the same, truth-seeking side of the story. Basic inquiries such as “Whodunit?” or “Why was it done?” then, are joined by “Who will figure it out first, and how?” Although the author creates a challenge between the reader and the detective, the detective genre functions so that the reader must ultimately trust in the detective’s abilities and interpretations of factual evidence. Yet at the same time, the limited knowledge of the reader produces an effect of incredulity or even distrust when the detective (usually) solves the mystery first. This tension comes to light in Edgar Allan Poe's short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” in which Poe illustrates how the detective figure’s extraordinary ability of perception and his exact practice of the scientific method demonstrate that his success is improbable, but not impossible. Poe first brings out this constellation in his introduction to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” where he establishes that it does not necessarily take an extraordinary or
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“ingenious” person to make a good detective, but a person who is analytical by nature and in practice. Poe begins by asserting that “what is only complex is mistaken for what is profound” (Poe 1). Forming a pattern that corresponds to Poe’s notion, literary crimes often conclude in complex, bizarre moments of revelation. For example, in Alexandre Dumas’ “The Marquise de Brinvillier,” the investigator Desgrais must pursue the Marquise in a hidden convent and seduce her as a disguised abbey in order to make his arrest. In Friedrich Schiller’s “The Criminal From Lost Honor,” the murderer Christian Wolf remains unknown and thus unobtainable to the police until he unexpectedly presents himself to authority, along with his band of outlaws, with great pomp and circumstance fashion. In Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the detective C. Auguste Dupin eventually determines that the murderer must be an orangutan that escaped from a traveling sailor. Dupin then creates a newspaper ad to lure the sailor into presenting himself, while keeping the sailor unconscious of Dupin’s awareness of his involvement in the crime. The above mentioned situations are convoluted to the point of
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Midterm Paper - Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01 Game Theory...

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