Poe's Stories

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The Prefect of the Police Character Analysis

The pitiable chief of the police, whose diligent, thorough but uncreative approach to crime-solving is the object of Dupin's ridicule. Though he is more officially important than Dupin, and even handles high profile cases, he shows the official protection of the city to be lacking. It is instead Dupin’s undercover genius that secretly keeps the peace. The Prefect is also thoroughly invested in his own importance, and desperately wishes to solve cases not just for the sake of doing so, but for the sake of his own reputation. He appears in both The Murders of the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter.
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The Prefect of the Police Character Timeline in Poe's Stories

The timeline below shows where the character The Prefect of the Police appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Murders in the Rue-Morgue
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
...knows the suspect Le Bon and owes him a favor. He gets permission from the Prefect of the police and they go directly to the Rue Morgue. Dupin pays careful attention... (full context)
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...and sells it for a good price, and Le Bon is released from prison. The Prefect of the police knows he’s been beaten, but he’s obviously quite annoyed at Dupin’s skill.... (full context)
The Purloined Letter
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...that the narrator of "The Purloined Letter" spent with him in Paris. One evening, the Prefect of the police calls at their apartment. The pair invite him in. The narrator admits... (full context)
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The Gothic Style Theme Icon
They light a candle but when the Prefect announces that he comes on official business and needs help with a case, Dupin extinguishes... (full context)
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...very confused. Dupin suggests that its very simplicity might be what’s causing their trouble. The Prefect finds this idea hilarious. When he stops laughing he agrees to tell them the situation,... (full context)
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The Prefect then cryptically suggests that he knows that the person that stole the letter still has... (full context)
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The Prefect explains what has been done so far in the investigation, and Dupin comments on the... (full context)
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...be possible for the letter to be hidden somewhere other than the Minister’s apartment but the prefect is sure that it is not, because the letter holder’s power depends on being able... (full context)
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...that the Minister would be too clever not to expect to be stopped and searched. The prefect says that though the minister is not a fool, he is a poet, which is... (full context)
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The prefect describes his method of investigation, how he looked over every inch of the apartment. He... (full context)
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The narrator of "The Purloined Letter" is astonished, but the prefect again reminds him of the large reward. The narrator asks if he checked every single... (full context)
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The prefect returns the following month and, when asked about the purloined letter, is disappointed to admit... (full context)
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The prefect disregards Dupin’s story but says that he is serious about the reward. Dupin then calmly... (full context)
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Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...their methods allowed. But this method is not suited to the criminal in question – the prefect has been both too shallow and too deep in his search. Dupin gives an example... (full context)
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The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Prefect’s short sightedness is also down to his perception of the Minister as a fool, because... (full context)
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Dupin returns to the Minister. He knows that, because the minister has fooled the Prefect, he has the abilities of a poet as well as a mathematician, and understood everything... (full context)