The subject of grief is a complex and often very personal affair. It’s an emotion that everyone experiences to some level, but understanding it is very difficult. In an effort to better understand this emotion and how some interact with it, this paper examines the works of two authors distinct in both their style and historical setting: Seneca the Younger and Edgar Allen Poe. Both authors have written several works directly discussing the subject and bring their own unique understandings to bear through their separate writing styles and genres. This paper will primarily examine Seneca’s consolatory letters and Poe’s “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee”. In these works, Seneca presents his understandings of grief through his background as a reason based Stoic philosopher while Poe utilizes the expressional tools available to him in his genre of gothic poetry. In order to better comprehend these views, this paper will compare them to a psychological framework set up by Sigmund Freud in his “Mourning and Melancholia”. The paper will explore how each author’s views complement and diverge from one another on the topic of grief and how these commonalities and differences speak to a larger understanding of the emotion as a whole.


Shaya, Josephine

Second Advisor

Prendergast, Thomas


Classical Studies; Comparative Literature


Grief, Seneca, Poe, Stoicism, Freud, Mourning, Melancholia, Consolation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Bruce Lutz