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"The Imp of the Perverse" is a short story by 19th-century American author and critic Edgar Allan Poe. Beginning as an essay, it discusses the narrator's self-destructive impulses, embodied as the symbolic metaphor of The Imp of the Perverse. The narrator describes this spirit as the agent that tempts a person to do things "merely because we feel we should not."
The narrator explains at length his theory on "The Imp of the Perverse", which he believes causes people to commit acts against their self-interest. This essay-like discussion is presented objectively, though the narrator admits that he is "one of the many uncounted victims of the Imp of the Perverse". He then explains how his conviction for murder was the result of this.