Shadow (Poe)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: During a gathering of seven people in a dimly lit room, a mysterious shadow appeared, causing fear and unease among the group, as it spoke with the voices of many departed friends.

In a dim city called Ptolemais, a group of seven people gathered in a noble hall to drink wine and enjoy each other's company. The atmosphere was heavy and suffocating, and the only light came from seven lamps that cast an eerie glow on the faces of the guests. Among them was a young man named Zoilus, who had succumbed to the plague and lay dead in the room.

Zoilus — young man; deceased; enshrouded in the room; victim of the plague.

Despite the unsettling presence of death, the group tried to maintain a sense of merriment by singing songs and drinking wine.

For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men.

As the night wore on, the songs gradually faded away, and a dark, undefined shadow emerged from the draperies of the room. The shadow was neither human nor divine, and it eventually came to rest on the brass door of the chamber. The guests, too afraid to look directly at the shadow, stared into the depths of an ebony mirror and asked the shadow for its name and dwelling place.

The Shadow — mysterious, formless entity; speaks with the voices of many departed friends.

The shadow replied that it was simply a shadow, and its dwelling was near the Catacombs of Ptolemais and the dim plains of Helusion.

And the shadow answered, 'I am shadow, and my dwelling is near to the Catacombs of Ptolemais, and hard by those dim plains of Helusion which border upon the foul Charonian canal.'

The voice of the shadow was not that of a single being, but rather a multitude of beings, and the guests recognized the familiar accents of many departed friends. This revelation filled the group with horror, and they stood trembling and aghast at the presence of the shadow.

Oinos — narrator; Greek man; part of the group of seven.