Edgar Allan Poe
Analysis Of “William Wilson” And “The Tell-Tale Heart” By Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is considered a major figure when it comes to literature; mostly through his poems, short stories, and various works of fiction. His works depict artistic imagination especially when it comes to the rationality of man (Szabo & Crisan 1). The theme of otherness in literature can be viewed as the aspect of being different from what is considered normal. Normal, in this case, put into view certain expectations or rather aspects that do not deviate from the social norm. Otherness, in the works by Edgar Allan Poe, is illustrated by the gothic style integrated in most of his works. He is known for developing gothic fictions in literature (Sun 94). The analysis puts into view the theme of otherness with respect to the literary works, William Wilson and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
William Wilson by Poe depicts the otherness theme through the character of the main protagonist, Wilson. William Wilson is different from the normal expectations of man’s behavior through his dual nature. He abides by both reality and illusion, especially after his institutionalization. While institutionalized, Wilson develops an alter ego, which he identifies using his own name, which subjects him to schizophrenic experiences (Kao 2). He becomes confined in the institution through which the allusions limit him from understanding his surroundings. The illusions associated with the development of the alter ego challenge him to struggle to acquire free will. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that Wilson is not confined or controlled by the institution but rather by his own mind (Kao 2). The academy, as per his case, becomes the external force that oppresses his free will. Being the perceived external force, Wilson focuses to overwhelm it in his pursuit for free will. Wilson states, “at an age when few children have abandoned their leading-strings, [he] was left to the guidance of [his] own will, and became, in all but name, the master of [his] own actions” (Poe) to illustrate the victimization imposed on him by the academy. The mental pursuit of his free will is illustrated by the statement, “The next morning I began a hurried journey away from Oxford University. I ran, but I could not escape. I went from city to city, and in each one Wilson appeared.” From his description, the institution is endless and entails complex divisions. Besides the academy’s complex nature, Wilson also views his free will to be limited by the teacher who imposes complex rules in the entire institution (Kao 3). The teacher is positioned at various levels that include being the school’s administrator, a pastor apart from the teacher. Wilson exhibits fear when he views the teacher both in school and in church. It is important to note that his mental deterioration commences immediately after he becomes part of the institution as his experience is different when compared to pre-school life. However, through the struggle to acquire freedom from the academy and the teacher, the mental struggle results in his self-destruction. At the end of the story, he states, “And, in my death— see by this face, which is your own, how wholly, how completely, you have killed — yourself!” (Poe). The statement does not possibly imply an actual death but may also signify Wilson’s complete mental incapacitation (Kao 5). Therefore, through the mental struggle between reality and illusion Poe illustrates the theme of otherness through Wilson’s character.
Otherness, in The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe is illustrated by the madness of the narrator. The story is narrated using the first person which makes it easier for the reader to comprehend the protagonist’s elusive thoughts. His dark thoughts differ from the norm especially since he appears to be disturbed by illogical elements (Amir 596). His awkward behaviour is illustrated with his claim that he is of sound mind rather than mad, the idea that he is disturbed by a sound that keeps elevating. On his stance that he was not mentally incapacitated, he perceives that his sickness developed his senses, thought-processes and emotions including a strong hearing ability. He states, “The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute,” (Poe 1). It is from his assumed “strong” senses that he is pushed to believe that one of the eyes of the old man has to be eliminated. He perceives that he had no problem with the old man apart from his eye. He states, “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.” In other words, it is his indifferent senses that push him to commit murder. It is from the statement that the reader ascertains that the narrator is mentally incapacitated (Amir 597). Also, the narrator appears to be thrilled about how he managed to carry out the murder; an aspect that deviates from the societal norm when it comes to valuing life. He states, “Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!” Apart from the eye, he believes that the sounds that he keeps on hearing emanate from the old man’s heart. This happens on the last day of his attempt to kill the old man when he hears the heartbeat with the view that the sound from it keeps on elevating. Furthermore, he believes that the sound could be heard by the neighbours. To put an end to the sound, he pounces at the old man and kills him. When police arrived at his home after receiving a call from the neighbour about some disturbance emanating from his house, he calmly takes the police around the house. However, he begins to hear the sound again. He attempts to ignore it by moving his chair but is unable to control it. By then, he becomes convinced that the police are aware of his deed and thus confesses about his crime. He states, “Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! –It is the beating of his hideous heart!” (Poe). The most possible assumption is that the narrator is struggling with guilt and attempting to justify his actions using illusions (Amir 598). Otherness, in this case, is illustrated by his state of mind whereby he fails to distinguish between reality and illusions.
As mentioned earlier, the analysis puts into view the theme of otherness with respect to the literary works, William Wilson and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Otherness is perceived as an aspect of being different from what is considered as normal Otherness, in William Wilson, is illustrated by the mental struggle between reality and illusion by the protagonist which later leads to his self-destruction. Otherness in The Tell-Tale Heart is illustrated by the narrator’s state of mind which eventually results in his evil deed and self-destruction.
The Black Cat By Edgar Allan Poe Summary
The book tells the story of a man who realizes that his mental state is deteriorating and accepts that he needs to do something before his life is too late. The story revolves around the sense of guilt that surrounds a murderer who commits a crime and who is capable of hiding his crime. But the feeling of guilt takes him to the edge of madness and to reveal himself against himself.
At the beginning of the story, the man lived happily with his pet cat and wife. Life seemed to go on smoothly apart from minor incidences that happened. However, things begun changing when the man started taking alcohol. The unnamed man says that he started by getting easily irritated even when around close friends. The man started by being verbally abusive towards his wife every time they would have an argument. However, this did not last long and he started abusing his wife physically.
It was not only his wife who was subjected to violence, according to the narrative, but also his beloved cat. The man loved the cat very much and spent most of the time petting him. He began his violence towards animals by hanging his first cat, Pluto, after returning home drunk. Shortly after, another cat came to live with him, also mistreats him. The theme of violence in history reaches its climax when the narrator kills his wife, a point worth mentioning is that the man blames his violent act of alcoholism.
When he was not drunk, he was a kind and gentle person who treated people and animals with tenderness. However, it is worth noting that towards the end of the story, the man no longer blames his violent acts of alcohol, but blames a supernatural power that caught him every time he was drunk. It was not only his wife and cats who experienced the violence of man but also other animals.
Before the man started drinking, he was loyal to his wife and pet cat, Pluto. However, the man gets out his cat eyes out. Despite the fact that his wife saw the kind of cruelty to which he had subjected the cat, he still remained faithful to him.
After the man took out the cat eye, the cat was still playing with him. Under normal circumstances, the cat would have run away from the house and moved to another house away from the brutality.
When the man discovered that the cat also lacks an eye, begins to despise him, while the woman loves him even more. After a while, the woman shows the man that the white spot on the cat skin has grown. Interestingly, the white spot now forms an image of the gallows .The gallows a wooden device used to hang people.
The man is too afraid of the cat to abuse him, but the cat never leaves him alone for a moment, and even sits on his chest and breathes in his face when he is in bed. Then, man does not sleep. As his hatred for the cat increases, so does his physical and verbal abuse of his wife. One day, he and his wife go down to the basement of the old house where they live now that they are poor. The cat follows them. In an attack of extreme irritation, the man tries to kill the cat with an ax. The woman stops him and the man; sticks the ax in his brain, killing her.
Man wonders how it is better to hide the body. After much deliberation, the man decides to hide the body in a space behind the basement wall. That night, the man sleeps peacefully for the first time in a long time. The cat is nowhere to be found.
The police appear. On the fourth day, there is still no woman and cat. But, the police come back and search the house again, especially in the warehouse. Just when they are about to leave, abandoning their search in the cellar, the man decides to brag about how well built the house is. He takes his cane and hits it against the place on the wall where his wife body is hidden.
A noise responds to his blow. It’s a sad sound, like a crying child. It sounds horrible and desperate, but also victorious. The police are in that. They go down the wall only to find the body, with the cat on top of the head. And that is why the man is in jail, sentenced to death by hanging him. The narrator had accidentally closed the cat on the wall with the body.
The Raven: an Assimilation of Edgar Allan Poe’s Life
Edgar Allen Poe, while famous later in his life, had very little wealth from his writings (History Channel, Jan 29). He had difficulty keeping a job for more than a year or so and at times was even dismissed for his salacious drinking (Britannica). His literary works were often dark and macabre with lines like “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him” (Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”). This was true for one of his most famous poems “The Raven”. There were many similarities between this poem and Poe’s life. He was no stranger to death and loneliness which was portrayed in his work: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…” (Poe, 2). Born to an actor and actress in Boston, Poe was orphaned at a young age after losing his mother to Tuberculosis and his father to abandonment (PBS). He then was separated from his siblings and went to live with his godfather in Virginia, who was a wealthy tobacco merchant named John Allen and his barren wife (History Channel, Poe).
He lost his biological mother, brother, and foster mother to Tuberculosis. After marrying Virginia Clemm, his young cousin, he was said to be very happy and affectionate (Lanzendorfer). She too, became ill with Tuberculosis around the time Poe penned “The Raven”. He described his response to her illness as “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity” (Poe, letter to Spirit of the Times). His great love for her and his feelings of impending loss of this love, inspired this work about abandonment, loneliness, loss, sorrow, and death. In this work, Poe has a visit from the raven, a symbol of foreboding and misfortune, who answers “Nevermore” when questioned by Poe. “Lenore” is thought to represent his wife Virginia, whom he had not yet lost but was very ill.
He wills the ill omen to leave “…Leave my loneliness unbroken!…Take thy form from off my door…” to which the Raven replies “Nevermore” (Poe, 57-67). Symbolizing his will to keep his love, but knowing what the end result of her disease would be. The dark and brooding, sorrowful, tone of the poem resonated with his audience and increased his fame to nationwide recognition. This was of little consolation, when 2 years after its publishing, Virginia died. Poe continued to gift us with his literary skills, most of which were not recognized until after his untimely death (PBS).
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado: a Analysis and Comparison on the Movie and Book
Poe: Written vs. Film Cold-Write
The Cask of Amontillado is a story written by Edgar Allan Poe, about a man who has been wronged by one he once called friend and the steps he takes to get his revenge. Montressor, the narrator eventually ends up burying Fortunato alive, entombing him behind a wall of rock that Montressor had built to cover the opening of a small alcove that he had tricked the extremely drunk Fortunato into before chaining him to the wall and beginning work on the wall. I believe that this story was written to have the readers question how far exactly we all will go to get done what we think is right as well as show us the morbidly creative things our brains can do if we used them for such. Poe’s language, along with the video you can almost see in your head allows this story to be transformed to a chilling display of ourselves and the things we try to accomplish when dark falls and we think that no one can see us. So, naturally some people would attempt to make a movie out of this, to show this story to more people who have not experienced it yet. A movie has been made for The Cask of Amontillado, actually several were made I think. In the below paragraphs, I will explain what I think are the differences between that versions and then the similarities which I will follow with explaining the effectiveness of the filmmaker as he set off to transfer the classic Poe story to screen.
Many differences can be found when one looks at the writing and then turns to the movie of Cask of Amontillado. One that I found was as Fortunato is leading the way into Montressor’s vaults, they discuss the Montressor family crest. It is described as being “the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel”. This is not described in the text. Actually, in the text, the reader never learns the name or any other identifying characteristics about the narrator. I think that by the filmmaker adding this, it created another way to show that Fortunato is doomed. In the beginning of both the movie and the text we learn that “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” This being stated by Montressor before the conversation about the coat of arms of the Montressors throws the words about the rampant serpent into a darker light, and adds to the sense of dread throughout the story. Another difference is slighter, but no less important. In the very end, before Montressor puts the final brick in place, in the text he throws a torch inside the alcove with Fortunato. I believe that this was a taunt, so Fortunato would see the light of the torch growing dimmer with his own as the oxygen in the room was slowly used up. The torch was Montressor’s way of telling Fortunato that he was going to die, and that he only had until the torch went out to live. This also fits the common idea that death comes in a dark, quiet place, slipping like a thief through the night to claim people’s lives. The torch was a small detail not in the movie, because it would be hard to have actors throw burning sticks at each other, but I think it was one that had a great impact on the story. The simple action of Montressor throwing the torch may not be understood by some, but it still stays with them and increases their sense of the story.
But, for all the differences, the movie’s script did seem to be a modified version of Poe’s story. A specific similarity, that shows the filmmaker’s fine attention to detail was the “shouting contest” between Montressor and Fortunato while Montressor builds the wall in front of Fortunato, trapping him inside the vaults. Fortunato begins to yell and shout in an attempt to free himself from the chains and escape before Montressor can finish putting the stone’s in place. Deciding to taunt the man, Montressor yells back. They have a contest of sorts, both seeing who could out yell the other. I believe Poe put this in the story to show exactly how foolish Fortunato, and by extension, everyone was. It shows that even if we are chained to a wall, watching the only source of oxygen and light being walled away, we are still ready to waste the precious resources that we have left in an attempt to escape.
I think that the filmmaker did a good job of translating Poe’s work to film, and I enjoyed watching what I have previously read. The filmmaker did a good job because everything played out as it did in the story, and it was clear that effort was put into the project. Even small details like Montressor’s black cape came to the screen, and Fortunato’s gesturing from the Freemasons also made an appearance. Yes, there were some things that could have been more imaginative or very small elements that were left out, but the film does do a good job of portraying the story for those who might not wish to read it.
In conclusion, the spine chilling tale of lies, trickery and murder bearing the title The Cask of Amontillado has earned its place on a collector’s bookshelf of classics. The film adaptation should not be forgotten, as it takes Poe’s masterpiece and creates a smooth transition from having to imagine the characters to being able to watch the story play out before you. Each is different in its own way, but both are worthy of recognition and are well done. There are difficulties in moving Edgar Allan Poe’s works to film because of how they are written; usually as a letter or a character’s recollection, and as such are in past tense. Cask of Amontillado seems to be an easier story to move, but I have no doubt that there were difficulties in the process. In my opinion, the film did a masterful job of retelling the story and should not be ignored by those who for whatever unfortunate reason find reading to be boring.
A Study of The Negative Effects of Uncontrolled Ego in The Cask of Amontillado
The Consequences of an Uncontrolled Ego
An Analysis of the Theme of “The Cask of Amontillado”
“He had a weak point—this Fortunato—although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself upon his connoisseurship in wine.” (Poe 108) This line alone suggests that pride will lead to Fortunato’s downfall, and Montresor knows this. As is stated in the quote, Fortunato is a reputable man, with one fatal flaw, his ego. Although Montresor may not be aware of it, he also has this weakness. He displays an overwhelming amount of conceitedness, possibly even more than Fortunato, which is made obvious when he commits murder over a simple insult. “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe teaches the reader that pride in excess can be toxic, and this is expressed with symbolism, foreshadowing, character thoughts and actions, and the tone of the story.
One literary device the reader may notice is the symbolism throughout the story. When Montresor meets Fortunato at the carnival, the author describes the man’s clothing as “a tight-fitting parti-striped dress… his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.” (108) In clearer terms, he is dressed as a jester, often called a “fool” in that time period. His costume symbolizes that this is exactly what Fortunato becomes, just a fool, tricked into following Montresor to what will become his eternal tomb simply because his ego won’t allow anyone else to be the one to taste and examine the supposed Amontillado. Another example of symbolism is the atmosphere of the catacombs, being described as “lined with human remains” (111) In short, the place he has been led to is an underground cemetery. This symbolizes the fate that Fortunato will soon succumb to, becoming just another skeleton in the depths of the caves, becoming buried by his own sense of self-importance. The author adds these details in order to give the story more depth and make it more interesting for the reader, and Poe is quite successful in this area.
Another method used frequently throughout the story is foreshadowing. For example, while venturing into the catacombs, Montresor talks to Fortunato about his family’s coat of arms. He describes it as being a representation of, “a huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.” (110) Additionally, Montresor says that the motto is “Nemo me impune lacessit,” (110) meaning “No one provokes me with impunity.” It is clear that Montresor lives up to what the coat of arms says, as he does not allow Fortunato to get away with the insult that apparently offended him so deeply. They are also drinking a type of wine called “De Grâve” (111) during their trek into the caves. It is not stated what the name is derived from, or what, if anything, it means in Italian. However, in English, the name appears quite similar to the words “the grave.” Perhaps, like the first example, this is giving the reader a hint that Fortunato’s trip into the catacombs will not end with him tasting a special wine, and will instead lead to his demise.
A more obvious way the reader may conclude that pride can lead to tragedy is through the characters’ thoughts and actions. It is very clear that Montresor’s motive for murdering his “friend” is that he feels disrespected, as he is open about this from the very beginning. The very first line of the story shows that this is not just an inference but is an objective truth: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” (108) The revenge is, obviously, the murder committed at the end. Without Montresor being so vain, none of this would have ever happened, and an innocent man would not have been killed. Fortunato’s words show that pride was his motive as well. Montresor uses Fortunato’s sense of pride to his advantage, manipulating him by suggesting he will go elsewhere for advice on the wine: “As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If anyone has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me—“ (109) Fortunato’s pride will not allow Montresor to go to another for advice. He interrupts with, “Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.” (109) If Fortunato had simply let it go instead of insisting he be the one to do it and had not been so emotionally wounded by the thought of advice being sought elsewhere, then he would not have been killed in the catacombs. Again, this supports the idea that the overall theme of the story is that pride is dangerous, possibly leading to tragedies like the one in the story.
The tone is also a vital aspect of the work in question. There is no single quote that can encompass this entirely, but when one reads the story the atmosphere feels very dark and gloomy. The setting, the characters, and almost everything in the story is tainted by grim and dismal descriptions. The overall experience of reading it brings with it the feeling that something terrible is about to occur. From the very beginning, there is already talk of revenge, hatred, and deception. The deception is revealed when the narrator says, “It must be understood that by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of this immolation.” (108) Needless to say, lines like this do not instill expectations of a happy ending in the reader. They give the reader a hint, before they even discover the full extent of Montresor’s plans, that his pride will end in great evil being committed. A chill might go up one’s spine as Montresor reveals to the reader what his true, selfish intentions are.
Taking all of the above into account, it is clear that Poe was trying to send a message with this story. In some ways, it may even be valuable to apply the lessons the characters learned to one’s own life. Maybe the takeaway is to learn to put your ego aside, and turn the other cheek rather than cause harm unto others in the name of revenge. Perhaps it is to not let your pride blind you from the truth of any situation you may face. It is ultimately up to the interpretation of the reader. Although Poe had a very dark way of expressing these messages or any others that may interpreted, the reader is still taught something valuable, and that should not be overlooked when analyzing a story such as this one.
The Poem “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe
The Poem “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe , is perceived to be about the childhood past of Poe. With his writing styles of mystery and macabre, this poem ties into with that by reflecting on his dark, lonely, deceptive and indifferent childhood. As the poem tends to unfold the author shows signs of sadness, he’s comparing his life to others from his childhood because he didn’t have the luxury they had growing up. Being an orphan or a foster kid can take a huge toll on one’s mind, he was deeply impacted by the cruel,loneliness growing up, being positive and happy was a huge obstacle to overcome. In the beginning of the poem he refers to that his childhood was very different from the normal,which was true in many cases.
At an early age the way he viewed life wasn’t normal, his emotions were different from every sense emotional,physical, and mental. As Edgar Allan Poe states in the poem “ I have not seen as others saw” what he means byt his si that his point of view of life and how things are perceived are at a different value to thoses who he grew up around. Also he states “I could not bring my passions from a common spring” which can be interpreted as a metaphor for the way he feels or where his feelings came from. A “common spring” is referred to everyone that wasn’t him and how their feelings and desires all generated from one common place whereas Poes came from somewhere totally different. Edgars upbringing was no cherry ride, through his childhood eyes he saw that every child around him got ecstatic about the same thing , like leaving a “kid in a candy store” whereas Poes “candy” was driven opposite.
As a child you have no cares in the world ,the greatest thing they have is their expandable imagenation. Since he describes a part of his childhood as “stormy” his misery,unhappiness was graver. The things that would excite a child has a different reaction towards him. “Then-in my childhood-in the dawn, Of a most stormy life-was drawn, From ev’ry depth of good and ill, The Mystery binds me still”. (Edgar Allen Poe “Alone”) That part in the poem is quite unique because it gives the sense of feel towards a sense of change in pace, as it starts with the word then. Even though he’s writing this poem as a flashback of his childhood,it feels like a bit of of a mystery is starting to storm. He says “the dawn-,Of a most stormy night” is used as a metaphor , yet dawn is portrayed as starting over ,a new day, since childhood adolescence is part of the start of life. While thinking back on his childhood he realizes that most bad things in his life started in his childhood instead of a beautiful start to his childhood his started as a “storm”. He subsequently says that his childhood lead to the ups and downs and way downs of his adult life and the day of the “storm” was just the tip of the iceberg.
Towards the end of the stanza he used the word bind which is used as being manipulated,tied up or enchained. The way Poe uses the word mystery ties it all together because the speaker says “its comes from every depth good and ill” his childhood started off on a ruff patch and the mystery still has a hold of him and through his experiences good and bad. For example the good referring to the loving relationship he had with his adopted mother and the ill as his dismantled childhood from adoption,and the death of his birth parents. As Poe looks back on his childhood,he knows what the reader doesn’t know thats where mystery plays its role. When broken down it gives the feel of Poe having a sixth sense in a way which explains why he felt, seen, and experienced things out of the ordinary as a kid,maybe there was more to it than just being different.
Edgar Allan Poe and His Poetry of Romanticism
Edgar Allen Poe was one of the most powerful and influential poets of the 18th century. For all millennials that love the Romantic written works and films, they have him to thank. In our society today, many romantic and suspenseful ideas he created are now engraved in our societies thinking. Modern films and novels have been incorporating romantic aspects for decades. Widely regarded as a central figure of the Romantic era and his spine-tingling horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe’s most renowned works, Annabel Lee, The Tell-Tale Heart, and the Raven shaped the Romantic Movement and continues to influence and educate both the film and novel industries.
The literary elements of Poe’s writings have been debated since his death but have remained popular and influential. “Annabel Lee,” is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most renowned and controversial works. In “Annabel Lee,” by Edgar Allan Poe he stated, “but we loved with a love that was more than love-I and my Annabel Lee-With a love that winged seraphs of Heaven Coveted her and me”. (line 9) Like many of Poe’s poems, he explores the theme of death in this romantic love story. The narrator is in mourning of his love, Annabel Lee. This young love is described as so strong that even angels are envious. Romanticism focuses on the narrator’s feelings instead of true logic. So emotional driven that many have found this piece is debatable. Poe was conveying a different side of love, one that is so powerful it may only make sense to a reader who has experienced, young love.
Edgar Allan Poe focused many of his works on human self-destruction, sin, the supernatural, and terror. These ideas developed into Dark Romanticism that expressed a new side of romanticism. Drawn to the dark side of the human psyche, Dark Romanticism centralized on madness and even inhumanity. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” tells the story of a man driven insane by his own guilt. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allan Poe stated, “it is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night”. The man first is driven to kill an old man because of his eye and later driven to madness because of his guilt. Throughout the story, the man sees and hears things that don’t exist and become more obsessed and crazed by his own conscience.
Dark Romanticism is also portrayed in The Raven. In this story, the narrator is introduced to a bird, a raven. At first, the raven is amusing but its presence begins to torture the narrator as the poem progresses. In “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe he stated, “thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before”. (line 14) His madness and panic creeps throughout and builds slowly in the poem. He becomes so insane, he screams at the bird. He cannot think reasonably or act with any logic. This sense of being entirely emotionally driven is common within most of his works.
Edgar Allan Poe’s most renowned works, Annabel Lee, The Tell-Tale Heart, and the Raven impacted world literature with their Romantic ideals. Each story shared a different view on love, death, and insanity. It expressed a different side to human nature, showing what true guilt, loss, and terror can hold on a person. A person completely focused on oneself and driven by irrational thoughts and emotions. For decades, Edgar Allan Poe continues to educate and impact people of all ages. As Edgar Allan Poe, once said, “With me, poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion”.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Life and Writing Career
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country’s earliest practitioners of the short story. He is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in financially difficult life and career. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. They never formally adopted him, but he was with them well into young adulthood. Tension developed later as John Allan and Edgar Poe repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, and the cost of Poe’s secondary education. He attended the University of Virginia but left after a year due to a lack of money. Edgar Poe quarreled with John Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time that his publishing career began with the anonymous collection Tamerlane and Other Poems, credited only to ‘a Bostonian’. Edgar Poe and John Allan reached a temporary rapprochement after the death of Frances Allan in 1829. Poe later failed as an officer cadet at West Point, declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, and he ultimately parted ways with John Allan.
Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. He married his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, in 1836. In January 1845, Poe published his poem ‘The Raven’ to instant success, but Virginia died of tuberculosis two years after its publication.
Poe planned for years to produce his own journal The Penn, but he died before it could be produced. He died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, at age 40; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, ‘brain congestion’, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other causes. Their grandfather David Poe Sr. emigrated from County Cavan, Ireland around 1750. Edgar may have been named after a character in William Shakespeare’s King Lear which the couple was performing in 1809. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from consumption. Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful merchant in Richmond, Virginia who dealt in a variety of goods, including tobacco, cloth, wheat, tombstones, and slaves. The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name ‘Edgar Allan Poe’, though they never formally adopted him.
The Allan family had Poe baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812. John Allan alternately spoiled and aggressively disciplined his foster son. Poe moved with the Allans back to Richmond, Virginia in 1820. In 1824, he served as the lieutenant of the Richmond youth honor guard as Richmond celebrated the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette. In March 1825, John Allan’s uncle and business benefactor William Galt died, who was said to be one of the wealthiest men in Richmond, leaving Allan several acres of real estate. The inheritance was estimated at $750,000. By summer 1825, Allan celebrated his expansive wealth by purchasing a two-story brick home named Moldavia.
Poe may have become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster before he registered at the University of Virginia in February 1826 to study ancient and modern languages. The university was in its infancy, established on the ideals of its founder Thomas Jefferson. It had strict rules against gambling, horses, guns, tobacco, and alcohol, but these rules were generally ignored. Jefferson had enacted a system of student self-government, allowing students to choose their own studies, make their own arrangements for boarding, and report all wrongdoing to the faculty. The unique system was still in chaos, and there was a high dropout rate. During his time there, Poe lost touch with Royster and also became estranged from his foster father over gambling debts. He claimed that Allan had not given him sufficient money to register for classes, purchase texts, and procure and furnish a dormitory. Allan did send additional money and clothes, but Poe’s debts increased. He gave up on the university after a year but did not feel welcome returning to Richmond, especially when he learned that his sweetheart Royster had married Alexander Shelton. He traveled to Boston in April 1827, sustaining himself with odd jobs as a clerk and newspaper writer, and he started using the pseudonym Henri Le Rennet during this period.
Poe was unable to support himself, so he enlisted in the United States Army as a Private on May 27, 1827, using the name ‘Edgar A. Perry’. He claimed that he was even though he was 18. He first served at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor for five dollars a month. Poe’s regiment was posted to Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina, and traveled by ship on the brig Waltham on November 8, 1827. Poe was promoted to ‘artificer’, an enlisted tradesman who prepared shells for artillery, and had his monthly pay doubled. He served for two years and attained the rank of Sergeant Major for Artillery; he then sought to end his five-year enlistment early. He revealed his real name and his circumstances to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Howard. Howard would only allow Poe to be discharged if he reconciled with John Allan and wrote a letter to Allan, who was unsympathetic. Several months passed and pleas to Allan were ignored; Allan may not have written to Poe even to make him aware of his foster mother’s illness. Frances Allan died on February 28, 1829, and Poe visited the day after her burial. Perhaps softened by his wife’s death, John Allan agreed to support Poe’s attempt to be discharged in order to receive an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Poe was finally discharged on April 15, 1829, after securing a replacement to finish his enlisted term for him. Before entering West Point, Poe moved back to Baltimore for a time to stay with his widowed aunt Maria Clemm, her daughter Virginia Eliza Clemm, his brother Henry, and his invalid grandmother Elizabeth Cairnes Poe. Meanwhile, Poe published his second book Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in Baltimore in 1829.
Poe traveled to West Point and matriculated as a cadet on July 1, 1830. In October 1830, John Allan married his second wife Louisa Patterson. The marriage and bitter quarrels with Poe over the children born to Allan out of affairs led to the foster father finally disowning Poe. Poe decided to leave West Point by purposely getting court-martialed. On February 8, 1831, he was tried for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders for refusing to attend formations, classes, or church. Poe tactically pleaded not guilty to induce dismissal, knowing that he would be found guilty.
He left for New York in February 1831 and released the third volume of poems, simply titled Poems. The book was financed with help from his fellow cadets at West Point, many of whom donated 75 cents to the cause, raising a total of $170. They may have been expecting verses similar to the satirical ones that Poe had been writing about commanding officers. It was printed by Elam Bliss of New York, labeled as ‘Second Edition,’ and including a page saying, ‘To the U.S. Corps of Cadets this volume is respectfully dedicated’. The book once again reprinted the long poems ‘Tamerlane’ and ‘Al Aaraaf’ but also six previously unpublished poems, including early versions of ‘To Helen’, ‘Israfel’, and ‘The City in the Sea’. He returned to Baltimore to his aunt, brother, and cousin in March 1831. His elder brother Henry had been in ill health, in part due to problems with alcoholism, and he died on August 1, 1831.
After his brother’s death, Poe began more earnest attempts to start his career as a writer, but he chose a difficult time in American publishing to do so. He was one of the first Americans to live by writing alone and was hampered by the lack of international copyright law. American publishers often produced unauthorized copies of British works rather than paying for new work by Americans. There was a booming growth in American periodicals around this time, fueled in part by new technology, but many did not last beyond a few issues. Publishers often refused to pay their writers or paid them much later than they promised, and Poe repeatedly resorted to humiliating pleas for money and other assistance.
After his early attempts at poetry, Poe had turned his attention to prose. He placed a few stories with a Philadelphia publication and began work on his only drama Politian. The Baltimore Saturday Visiter awarded him a prize in October 1833 for his short story ‘MS. Found in a Bottle’. The story brought him to the attention of John P. Kennedy, a Baltimorean of considerable means. He helped Poe place some of his stories and introduced him to Thomas W. White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia. Poe became assistant editor of the periodical in August 1835, but White discharged him within a few weeks for being drunk on the job. Poe returned to Baltimore where he obtained a license to marry his cousin Virginia on September 22, 1835, though it is unknown if they were married at that time. He was 26 and she was 13.
He was reinstated by White after promising good behavior, and he went back to Richmond with Virginia and her mother. He remained at the Messenger until January 1837. During this period, Poe claimed that its circulation increased from 700 to 3,500.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was published and widely reviewed in 1838. In the summer of 1839, Poe became assistant editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. He published numerous articles, stories, and reviews, enhancing his reputation as a trenchant critic which he had established at the Southern Literary Messenger. Also in 1839, the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque was published in two volumes, though he made little money from it and it received mixed reviews. Poe left Burton’s after about a year and found a position as an assistant at Graham’s Magazine.
In June 1840, Poe published a prospectus announcing his intentions to start his own journal called The Stylus, although he originally intended to call it The Penn, as it would have been based in Philadelphia.
Edgar Allan Poe and His Family
Most of us know that Edgar Allan Poe was one of the greatest figures in American literature. Many of us also know that the late poet/literary critic was the architect of the modern short story as well as the originator of the detective fiction and sci-fi genres. However, what do you know about Edgar Allan Poe’s family and personal life? Who were his parents? Who was his wife? Did he have any kids? All these and more questions about the great writer are answered below.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Family
Edgar Allan Poe (birth name – Edgar Poe) was born on the 19th of January 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother’s name was Eliza Arnold while his father’s name was David Poe Jr. Poe’s mom, Eliza, was originally from England and was born in London in 1787. She and her mother later immigrated to America upon her father’s demise. In America, the nine-year-old Eliza started acting and would go on to become a career actress. She worked with several theatre troupes, and played up to 300 parts, in the course of a successful career. Poe’s father, David Poe Jr, was also a career actor. He was born on the 18th of July 1784 in Baltimore, Maryland. His family initially wanted him to become a lawyer but he defied their wishes in order to become an actor. He however did not achieve much in his chosen profession; a fact that has been attributed to his stage fright as well as his drinking problems. David Poe Jr deserted his wife and children in 1809 and reportedly died in 1811. Eliza, on the other hand, also passed away on the 8th of December 1811.
Edgar Allan Poe’s family background includes two blood siblings; elder brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, and younger sister, Rosalie Poe. William Henry Leonard was born on the 30th of January 1807 in Boston, Massachusetts. He however grew up in Baltimore, with his paternal grandparents, after the demise of his parents. Henry initially spent several years working as a sailor and toured different parts of the world including South America, the West Indies, and Russia. He later quit sailing in 1827 and subsequently embarked on a second career as a writer of poems and short stories. Even though Henry never reached the Olympian heights of his younger brother, he still managed to publish several works including Dreams, The Pirate, and Original Lines of a Pocket Book. Henry Poe later died of tuberculosis on the 1st of August 1831. He was aged 24 years old. The last member of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth family is his younger sister, Rosalie Mackenzie Poe. She was born in December 1810 and was said to have been mentally retarded. Following the death of both parents, Rosalie was adopted by a Virginian couple known as William and Jane Scott Mackenzie.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Foster Parents
Following the demise of his biological parents, the then two-year-old Poe was shipped off to the home of a Richmond couple namely, John and Frances Allan. John Allan was a wealthy merchant who dealt in several goods including wheat, tobacco, and cloth. He and his wife did not formally adopt Poe but they gave him their name. They also took him with them during the several years they lived in England. Allan also enrolled in his ward in several schools including the University of Virginia. Poe however did not complete his degree as a result of insufficient resources. It is believed that his foster father provided him with the required funds but he gambled it away.
Wife and Children
Another important figure in Edgar Allan Poe’s family background was his wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm. Virginia was born on the 15th of August 1822 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was Poe’s paternal uncle, William Clemm Jr., which means that she was his cousin. Edgar Allan Poe first met his future wife when he joined their household in 1833. They fell for each other along the way and applied for a marriage license in September 1835. The two were later wed by a Presbyterian minister on the 16th of May 1836. Poe was 27 years old at the time while Virginia was 13, though her age was listed as 21. Accounts of the couple’s marriage vary. Some sources state that Poe was an affectionate husband while some others state that he carried on some improper associations to the extent that Virginia accused him of murdering her while she lay on her deathbed. Whichever it was, the couple remained together until Virginia died of tuberculosis on the 30th of January 1847. Poe’s marriage to Virginia did not produce any kids. His other relationships, after her demise, did not also yield any offspring.
Edgar Allan Poe and His Influence on Other American Authors
Edgar Allan Poe’s writings helped impact society in many ways by influencing other authors. His writing might have also changed the way people think about themselves or may change people’s mindsets in good or bad ways. Poe’s poems made a great impact on the French Symbolists of the late 19th century. Also, his poems and books might have changed his life as growing up and turning into an adult. Edgar Allan Poe’s writings impacted society because his childhood was very dark and difficult. Edgar Allan Poe had a very difficult life growing up because he was not well paid. Poe was not getting paid much that caused him to become poor. Poe started writing because that was the only way he knew to get money. His life growing up was also very dark meaning he went through some bad times which also caused him to suffer from depression. Once Poe’s writings started to gain more attention, he started to support himself more and his work became limited. Some of Poe’s depression was caused because his wife died of a disease. Some of his poems and writings also influenced and had an impact on American culture.
Both of Poe’s parents were were professional actors who both died when he was only three years old. Life was pretty hard for him to back then because his parents died so he then became an orphan. Poe eventually got adopted by John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia. Later, Poe was sent to a boarding school in London, England. “In 1827, he moved to Boston and enlisted in the United States Army”. He moved to Boston because his mom loved Boston very much and he wanted to join the United States Army. Poe eventually fell in love with a lady named Sarah Elmira Royster. They fell in love during 1825, Poe was 16 and Royster was 15 at the time. They broke up because he needed to focus more on studying at the University of Virginia. Poe then married a lady named Virginia Clemm. Poe and Clemm were first cousins when they married, Clemm was 13 and Poe was 27. Clemm then died of tuberculosis which caused Poe to have severe depression.
Some of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings focused on deaths. In the stories “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Raven”, and “The Black Cat” someone/ some animal died. Poe’s writing was mainly about death because as he was growing up and his life was dark. Poe was a very depressed child. When he was young, Poe’s father abandoned him. The family was also very poor so Poe thought that he could make money off of his writings, and eventually, he did. Some of Poe’s depression came from his wife dying of tuberculosis in 1847. He then moved into Richmond with his aunt and cousin in Virginia which may settle some of his depression. In addition, Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia where he got a good education. Edgar also joined the U.S. Army and did well as a soldier. Poe soon lost interest in West Point and realized it wasn’t something he wanted to do.
Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most important influential American writers. “Much of Poe’s work was inspired by the events that happened around him”. Poe’s inspiration for the Usher twins, James Campbell Usher and Agnes Pye Usher, helped him get to where he is now. Poe started his career as being writing because he knew he needed to make money and he was a great author. He eventually became responsible for the financial support of his aunt where he could make more money. “Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry”. “He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician”. Poe influenced many authors such as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Thomas De Quincey. Many of those authors helped get him where he is today. Edgar Allan Poe wouldn’t be where he is today if he did not start his career as an author.
Edgar Allan Poe knew he was becoming poorer and poorer so he decided that writing short stories would help him and his family out by making money. Poe eventually made some money after his stories started getting published and more and more people started buying them. Also, more and more people started getting inspired by his short stories which caused more people to read his stories. Poe made good money off of his short stories. He was also inspired by many other artists that influenced him to write more.
Poe’s life was also very dark growing up meaning he was very depressed. Many things caused him to be depressed such as not having a lot of things because he was poor, deaths, not having a lot of money, etc. Ever since Poe started writing stories that helped him a lot throughout his life because he started making money. If Poe did not start writing short stories, his life could still be very depressed and he could still be poor. Not only did Poe help his life but he also helped others’ lives because many people were influenced by his stories. “Poe began to sell short stories to magazines at around this time, and, in 1835, he became the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, where he moved with his aunt and cousin in Virginia”. This quote shows how he was starting to make money because he first began to sell his short stories and magazines. Poe started to become happy with his life and was no longer depressed a lot. Poe wrote a poem called “The Happiest Day” which also influenced a lot of people to have a good day. Seeing that people were getting influenced by his writings, he felt a lot better about himself than he was before.