Edgar Allan Poe Essay

Submitted By Lexiallen1
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Unit 7 Major Paper #3 Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 and from and from an early age was said to have a great talent for writing. His genre that he would become most know for was Gothic, and one of his more famous stories is the “The Tell Tale Heart.” Many say that his hardships in life gave him the inspiration on many of his dark and tragic writings. Throughout Poe’s lifetime he was nearly always struck with the tragedy of death. At the age of two his mother died and one short year later his father passed away as well. His brother William died at a young age and his sister Rosalie would become mentally ill later on in life ("Poe Stories").
Edgar was then left in the care of Mr. and Mrs. John Allan in which he got his surname. His step mom Joan Allan would die and his step father and he would have a falling out due to Poe’s gambling which also got him kicked out of school. John Allen and Edgar would never reconcile, even when Allan died in the year 1843 Edgar was left nothing in his will (Merriman). When Poe looked for love in his life he would marry his thirteen year old cousin Virginia Clemm who, like most of the people in his life would die of tuberculosis. After the death of his wife he turned to drinking and drugs. Poe would suffer from bouts of madness and depression the rest of his life until he died unexplainably on October 7, 1849. Only four people attended his funeral ("Poe Stories"). Although Poe’s life was extraordinarily dark he was one of the most acclaimed and mysterious writers of the nineteenth century, and from that darkness he found inspiration to write (Merriman). In which, a lot of Poe’s life experiences can be found and interpreted in his works such as “The Tell Tale Heart.” The story of “The Tell Tale Heart” is told in first person and the main character is constantly trying to defend himself to the audience that he is not mad (Merriman). My first impression when I hear about Poe’s life experiences and read his stories are that he must be psychotic so I would imagine he caught a lot of flack about that while he was alive. I think him having to defend himself constantly was on his subconscious while he was writing and it showed through in his story. The narrator also says he has a sense sharpening disease, which to me sounds parallel to the possibility of all the darkness in Poe’s life giving him an edge on the darkness of his writing. Poe’s ability to tap into the mind of a psychopathic murderer and reveal his deepest thoughts in “The Tell Tale Heart” suggests that his grip on reality much like the narrator is seriously inhibited. Poe’s collection of works is insight to that of his personal life that was intertwined with tragedy frequently. “The Tell Tale Heart” was meant to be a thrilling story in which the reader is captured by Poe’s sense of fear and madness. The narrator is continually aware that he is doing evil and that his illicit acts mean that he is intelligent not inherently crazy. There is a sense of humanity throughout this short story when Poe writes of the narrator being especially pleasant to the old man the week before he intends to murder him, also when the beating heart becomes stronger and stronger eventually forcing him to confess his horrible crime (Merriman). I believe that when Poe was in a drunken stupor the mind began to play tricks on him which is why he was able to write these chilling events in a manner that was unheard of at his time. After the death of his wife Poe was completely and utterly alone leaving him to grieve and in turn made his writings effectively Gothic. A constant theme of “The Tell Tale Heart” is madness. Throughout the story the narrator is persistently stating that he is not crazy and that he is well-aware of what he is doing at all times. The narrator wants to avoid being put into the same category of that of a crazy person, “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with