Edgar Allen Poe Essay, Research Paper
March 3, 1999
Edgar Allan Poe
On January 19, 1809, in Boston Massachusetts one of the world?s most distinguished writers was born. This writer?s name was Edgar Allan Poe, he was born the son of an actress and an actor . At the age of three, Poe?s mother gave him up to a prosperous merchant by the name of John Allan who took care of him until he began running into gambling problems at the school which he attended in Virginia. He only attended for one year due to these troubles. Poe than began to continue his studies in England and began to write.
After Poe had finished his studies in England he came back to the States to enlist in the army. There he wrote and published his first book called Tamerlane and Other Poems at his own expense. After Poe?s leaving the army, with the help of John Allan and his fellow cadets he wrote his second book. In 1837, Poe went to New York in search of work and this is where he not only marries his cousin Virginia, but is also the place in time when his writing courier really launches.
In 1847 Poes? life becomes a disaster due to the death of his beloved wife, Virginia. Poe become absent minded and began drinking heavily. Edgar Allen Poe?s life experiences, particularly his repeated substance abuse and the loss of the women he loved, are evident in the stories that he wrote.
Edgar Allan Poe
On January 29, 1845, Poe?s most mystifying poem appeared, The Raven. This was a story that Poe wrote that helped us understand his feelings that were felt due to the loss of his wife(Double Day & Company). The words used to describe the raven in the story make the raven up to be death coming for him. The words such as ?so faintly you cam tapping, tapping at my chamber door? show how the raven resembled death which took his wife away and will soon take him. Poe also described his heart ache by describing the ravens eyes as burning through his chest. Alcohol and drugs played a key role in the deep dark setting of this story. Also Poe had a fixation with the name Lanoro but nobody ever found out who she was, but men believe that it was Poe?s secret lover after the death of his wife.
In the poem Spirits Of The Dead Poe expresses his deepest feelings about his wife and the sense of loneliness he felt. In this poem the words ?Thy soul shall find itself alone `Mid dark thoughts of the gray tomb-stone? shows how Poe feels his soul is lost and alone and the only thoughts he has is of his wife?s grave( Doubleday & Company). Poe also says that at times it seems like he can see the soul of his wife but when he gets close it disappears into thin air. This poem is as expressful as the poem Evening Star which talks about Poe seeing his wife?s face in the heavens passing stars. Most of people believe that what Poe writes is just a collection of hallucinations and dreams.
The reason that a lot of Poe?s work is related to the death of his wife is because his marriage to her was one of the major high points of his life. In the poem To – - it seems that Poes peaks of the beauty of a bride on her wedding day and how she was so beautiful that it hurt her groom, these were feelings he felt on his wedding day.
The famous story The Black Cat ,Poe once again shows part of his many sides. In the story it talks about a man who is sick minded and is an alcoholic and take his frustration of the world out on his cat. The way that Poe is involved in this story is that he to was an alcoholic. Poe had allot of problems due to his drinking, he had lost jobs and lost friends and family members because of it. Although Poe didn?t have any pets, he did had allot of frustrations built up in him and had a deep dark soul and used this brutal way of writing as a way of relieving some anger without putting anyone in harms way.
Although Poe is known more for his many dark side, he also had a mild philosophical side to. This side of Poe is shown in the story Eureka( Blair Hornberger Stewart). In this story Poe attempted an analysis of the universe to Newtonian principles. Poe had believed that the universe had a mathematical beauty and precision in which one might catch a glimpse of the divine(Blair Hornberger Stewart). This thought of Poes? was one that was repeatedly used by him in many of his other stories. The stories main concern was that the universe is a plot of God. In various stories such as this one Poe rejected democracy, social reform, and the doctrine of progress. He had no faith in democratic institutions and no belief in natural goodness( Blair Hornberger Stewart).
The Fall Of The House Of Usher is yet another story by Poe that is saw as a remembrance of his late wife Virginia. The way that this is seen is through Poe?s use of symbolism such as, he uses the symbolism of a yellow banner to help resemble his wife blond hair. Second Poe uses the words ? two luminous windows? to help represent his
wives eyes, last but not least he says the word ?fair palace door? and ?pearl and ruby? which is used to represent her mouth(Barnet Berman Burto). Poe used complementary words such as these to help his readers and himself to imagine the beauty of his wife.
When Poe was depressed seemed some what like a dungeon that was dark dreary and had no escape from it. With this state of mind and with a little help from some opium, Poe set the ground for his story The Pit and the Pendulum. In this story Poe speaks of man who is trapped in a dungeon with no escape, only through death. In reality Poe is really just speaking trough personal experience. To Poe, his life felt like it was under a pendulum and that he was to die soon to escape from all the evil that was brought amongst him in various forms. Poe felt as if all the events that he went through as a child to his present time were pure torture and this is where he found his scapegoat, through his writings. In The Pit and the Pendulum Poe spoke through the actions of the character and put all his emotions into it as well. As Poe?s patient with life wore thin the life of the character in the story went thin with a drop of the pendulum.
In such poem as Alone, To One in Paradise and The Haunted Palace Poe was under the heavy use of alcohol. This is known because alcohol is a depressant and in these Poems Poe shows a deep state of depression and a sense of loneliness. There is also a hint that Poe was also using heavy doses of opium while writing these two. The reason being for this is that the setting for the poem To one in Paradise is unique in the way that he gives his elaborate description.
Poe?s life was one that was filled with hardship, grief, criticism and with hatred. Poe unlike most people couldn?t deal with all the pressures that come along with life so he turned to drugs, alcohol and writing. His writing was his way to escapes along with the drugs and alcohol, but from this arose one of the best short story, and, poem writers of all times. Poe?s hardship led to our enjoyment of reading pleasure. When Poe died he didn?t die with to much dignity but he died a legend of his time, and of all times to come.
1. Blair, Hornberger, Stewart. American literature a brief history. Scott Foresman and Company, 1964.
2. Barnet, Berman, Burto. An Introduction to Literature. Little Brown and Company,
1967, 1963, 1961.
3. DoubleDay and Company. Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. DoubleDay and Company, 1966.