Essays on Edgar Allan Poe

Essays on Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. He was made an orphan early in life when his mother died of tuberculosis shortly after his father abandoned them. He was then taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left when he found himself in too much debt. Poe then enlisted in the Army, but he purposely got himself court-martialed in order to be discharged. Once Poe was a free man he moved back to Boston and began his writing career. Poe spent several years working for literary journals and periodicals. While he was working in Baltimore he fell in love with and married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. In 1845, ten years after they were married, Poe published one of his most famous poems, The Raven. Then, after two years of moderate success, Poe was planning on producing his own publication. But this would never happen, for his dear Virginia had taken sick with tuberculosis. Edgar, who could be considered an alcoholic already, started drinking more to deal with the stress of his wife's illness. Although Poe was known for his tales of mystery and macabre, his writing seemed to focus solely on death after his wife passed in 1847. Poe died in 1849, as mysteriously as some of his works. He was found dead on a park bench wearing someone else's clothes. The more one knows about Edgar Allan Poe’s life the easier it becomes to see what inspired his writings. The death of Poe’s mother and wife, his problems with alcohol, and interactions with other famous writers all provided inspiration to his many works.

Edgar Allen Poe’s writings were much like his life, filled with death and despair. At the very onset of his life he was forced to confront death and the loss of loved ones. After his father left all he had was his mother, but then she was gone too. She was only twenty-four years old when she died of tuberculosis. You can draw a contrast between the death of his mother with his poem “The Masque of the Red Death”. This story is about a country that is plagued with an illness, the red death, that is killing all the common people. The rich people, as well as the king hold up in a castle and attempt to ignore the terrible disease outside the walls. But, inevitably, the red death makes its way into the castle, killing the king and everyone inside. In the story Poe describes his red death, ” No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding…” (Poe). These symptoms are all very similar to the symptoms of tuberculosis. Poe must have witnessed his mother's illness, along with it’s disturbing signs. This experience undoubtedly had some inspiration on Edgar Allan Poe’s writings. But, his mother’s death was not the only death that inspired his writing.

Edgar’s beautiful young wife Virginia Clemm also died tragically at the young age of twenty-five. Young women can be found in many of Poe’s works, but the one that seems to most clearly parallel with his own life is the poem “Annabel Lee”. In this poem the narrator is mourning the death of his love AAnnabelLee. He describes how they were young, how the angels were even jealous of their affection for one another. Then comes the tragedy of the poem “That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling And killing my Annabel Lee”. (Poe) Suddenly the woman that the narrator is so deeply in love with takes sick. She dies, but the narrator continues to love her, saying that nothing could ever break their souls apart. Marie Bonaparte, a famous psychoanalyst whose book The Purloined letter was about life and works of Edgar Allan Poe Says in her book “Virginia has been postulated as the most likely candidate”. She was referring to the poem Annabel Lee and reached the same conclusion as many. It almost seems obvious that this poem was inspired by the passing of his beloved wife.

After his wife's death, Poe was said to have spiraled into depression and alcoholism. Jeffrey Meyers, in his book Edgar Allan Poe: his life and legacy, talks about this time in Poe’s life. “In Order to escape from this intolerable agony, Poe began to drink heavily”. Poe had had problems with alcohol in the past, even losing his job over it once. His drinking also affected his writing. The stories he wrote in this period of his life often included alcoholic characters. The story “The Black Cat” is about a man who becomes drunk and attacks his own cat. Another story featuring a drunken character is “The Cask of Amontillado”. Although, this time the drunken character is a victim, being locked in the catacombs to suffer and die. This could be Poe reflecting on his life, because of death he is left alone to die. But, clearly, Poe had an understanding of drunkenness in his own life, and that inspired some of his writings.

It is important to note, however, that not all of Edgar Allen Poe’s inspirations were negative. One of his most popular poems, “The Raven” was in fact inspired by the pet raven of Charles Dickens named Grip. Apparently, Dickens even taught his pet bird a large vocabulary. One of Poe’s many jobs throughout his life was to review others' writing and write reviews on them. One work that he reviewed was Charles Dickens “Barnaby Rudge”. In this story, the main character is always accompanied by a raven, a raven that can talk and is even smarter than its owner. According to Arthur Quinn, who wrote the book Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography, “There is no doubt, however, that the bird was suggested by the raven in Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge…”. It is important to note that Dickens’ pet raven was not the only inspiration for the poem “The Raven”. Poe writes “Eagerly I wished the morrow; -vainly I had sought to borrow.

Edgar Allan Poe’s life was plagued with tragedy, you can see evidence of this throughout his writings. The death of his young mother at the very start of his life, the death of his beautiful young wife were two very strong influences on his life. He was able to draw inspiration from other sources as well. Such as his colleague's pets and his own struggle with alcohol.

Assessment of the Poem: Some critics regard the poem as masterly; other critics regard it as shallow and sing-song. The latter critics–including many 20th and 21st Century poets–tend to eschew rhyming poetry because of its emphasis on form and musicality over substance. It is true …

Edgar Allan Poe
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The poem “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe is written to tell the story of the speaker’s greatest love. The speaker and Annabel Lee loved each other with “a love that was more than love” until she fell ill and died (9). The speaker blames …

Culture, Edgar Allan Poe, Literature
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Tuesday Great literature is often influenced by the lives of those who write it. Edgar Allan Poe is a clear example of a life influencing art. Two tragic events or afflictions from Edgar Allan Poe’s life that influence much of his writing are violent death …

Edgar Allan Poe, Fiction, Literature
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In this chapter, the detailed analysis would focus on the aspect on different attitudes adopted by Edgar Allan Poe to portray his conception of death in selected poems. Poe himself sees death in various experiences and his transformation of death from one poem to another …

Edgar Allan Poe
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In the early 19th century when Poe lived, the United States was an important time for the foundation of literary development with national development. American literature has come to the American Romantic era by pursuing its own free expression based on the New World America. …

Autobiography, Edgar Allan Poe
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His writing shows that he is familiar with the thought process of a madman, leaving some o believe that he himself was In fact insane, but If he were, could he have the ability to describe such dark thoughts and deeds In detailed graphic account? …

Edgar Allan Poe
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The existence of literature is to express humanity and human emotions in or through words. People can feel true and actual human nature through literature. Give a better opening statement about the wonders of literature… Furthermore, people can touch the mystic (not appropriate term) world …

Edgar Allan Poe, Human Nature, Literature
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Short stories came into the literature world as brief, single sitting stories, yet containing an exclusively developed subject. A short story is packed with descriptive details that form together to grab the reader’s attention in a short amount of time. The authors indulge in rich details …

Edgar Allan Poe, Irony, Short Story
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Poe vs. Dickens (Battle of Authors) Edgar Allen Poe has a better way of describing his emotions on to paper, his tone is dark and depressing yet gives into a little anger here and there. Charles Dickens has also dark and emotional stories growing up …

Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Literature
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Revenge; Justified or Momentary Satisfaction Revenge is such a common thread in today’s society. It is evident in television, movies, literature, politics, and even among friends at school. Everyone wants revenge. Revenge is a common tendency of human nature, but revenge is never justified. Many …

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Dezzie B. Ligon III 10/30/12 English 5 Mr. Rabot Without Recourse Thesis: The act of death is that of many intricate parts. It is destined, at times a mystery that is sought, frequently sudden and ill accepted, and recurrently caused by vengeance lacking true justice. …

Edgar Allan Poe
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Mysterious Death of a Mystery Man Death is an instance in which all vitals of the body have shut down, when life no longer remains in the body, and when something is declared dead. But, there is always something that causes this death whether old …

Edgar Allan Poe
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Edgar Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. That makes him Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius. When Poe was 6, he went to school in England for 5 years. He learned Latin and French, as well as math and history. He later …

Autobiography, Edgar Allan Poe
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In regards to post number one, the fact that you are interested in Edgar Allan Poe and enjoy his writing will help your research, undoubtedly. You will already have formed some sort of opinion about his writings and be able to pursue your research with …

Edgar Allan Poe
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Edgar Allen Poe is considered the father of the modern mystery novel as well as a premier short story writer and poet. While it may not be “CSI”, his novella “Murders in the Rue Morgue” also discussed rudimentary forensics with detectives discovering that hair left …

Edgar Allan Poe, Fiction, Literature
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