What if the letter never makes it back to the royal lady? What if G— actually wants the letter for his own nefarious purposes? What if the narrator is lying to us? What if nothing's real? "The Purloined Letter" leaves us scrambling in the dark for solid clues. With all the trickery and deceit—not to mention that we only get second- and third-hand hints to the whole thing—it's hard to know what's real and what's not. Like the letter, reality is hidden, disguised, purloined, and even forged. Told from within the dark and smoky Dupin library, even the story itself takes on the distinctive hue of unreality.
The "Purloined Letter" demonstrates that reality can be manipulated through lies and deceit to the extent that "reality" ceases to have a stable meaning.
Dupin's dark, smoky library hints at the impenetrable nature of reality.