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Edgar Allen Poe (960 words)

Edgar Allen Poe
Allan Poe could probably be named one of literature’s most controversial writers
of all time. Over the years, Poe’s works have endured much criticism as well as
much praise. Many professionals who have researched Poe’s life and his writings
feel that many of his writings strongly show reflections on Poe’s real life. Poe
was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. He was born the son of
Elizabeth and David Poe. David attempted to make a living by performing on
stage, but he seemed to be giftless in this area. Elizabeth died being poverty
stricken in the year 1811. Poe then was separated from his brother and his
sister because his father was unstable to care for them. A Scottish tobacco
merchant and importer named John Allan decided to take Poe in and Poe remained
with the Allan’s until December of 1826, where he began his studies at the
University of Virginia. As a writer, Poe became very well known for his
interests in death, dying, pre- mature burials, revenge, guilt and fear. His
works such as: “The Cask of Amontillado”; strongly show his feelings
of revenge. Although these characteristics of Poe’s writings made him a
questionable figure in literature. At the time, the general public were taken
back by the horrors that Poe wrote about, people still read them with suspense.

One critic wrote, “Poe’s attraction to the problem of death is so
conspicuous that the reticence of modern criticism on the subject seems
inexplicable” ( Kennedy 3). Many critics also thought that Poe’s interests
in such dark subjects were due to early traumatic experiences (Kennedy 5). Poe
felt that death had held contradictory meanings, and it’s tangible climax
changed through the course of his engagement in writing (Kennedy). Many modern
critics of Poe fail to realize that although Poe’s tales took an unusual
perspective, at the time, death was looked at as being an elaborate celebration,
it wasn’t more acceptable, but it was more of a subject of quiet fascination
(Kennedy 17). While Poe was primarily known to be a lonely dark man, he had a
burning desire to be loved. Some believed him to be a prose-poet of love. In
Poe’s tale, “My Heart Laid Bare”, he reveals his most deepest
attachment of all, his passion to have a woman (Bloom 81). This tale is a round
about way of telling the truths of his own soul (Bloom 81). Poe had a serious
problem with alcohol and it strongly affected him in his later life. In a few of
Poe’s writings he expresses his character’s feeling guilty for actions that took
place while they were sober, but as soon as intoxication occurs again, the
remorse fades away. In “The Black Cat”, the main character is a
husband who becomes drunk, strikes and kills his wife, and goes on to cut out
one of the eyes belonging to his beloved cat, he only feels remorse when he
sobers up (Bloom 84). In 1836, Poe married his fourteen-year-old cousin,
Elizabeth E. Clemms. This would fill the gap in Poe’s heart for the longing of
love. Poe deeply loved Virginia, even though by the time he married her he had
already reached 27 years of age. During the winter of 1846, Virginia became
seriously ill, and Poe would have to face the sorrow that had threatened him for
so long, Virginia was going to die. At the same time, Poe himself grew ill and
was unable to care for his wife. Poe had lost much money and he greatly required
a caretaker for his wife and himself. Prior to Poe’s illness, he had been
working on “Eureka”, his prose poem dealing with the universe. Poe’s
alcoholism had increased tremendously since Virginia’s illness and up until
after her death. Poe himself stated in a letter to a personal friend, “I’m
constitutionally sensitive and nervous in a very unusual way”. “I’ve
become insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.””During these
fit of unconscienceness I drank, God only knows how often or how much.” If
drinking were ever excusable, it was in this desperate effort to forget”
(Quinn 347). Poe became quite unstable after the death of his wife. In a
testimony from a personal friend, Dr. English, he commented on Poe’s drug usage:
“Had Poe the opium habit when I had known him, (before 1846), I should both
as a physician and as a man of observation, had discovered it during my visits
with him at his house and our visits with each other elsewhere” (Quinn

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