Tragic Life of Edgar Allan Poe as a Cause for His Writing

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

“True! Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”). Edgar Allan Poe left a legacy of a plethora of depressing poems and short stories because of his dreadful, sorrowful life. Many people wonder why he wrote so depressing; however, the answer may be in his family life. Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, to Eliza Poe and David Poe Jr. At 3 years old, he was an orphan; his father abandoned him, and his mother died from a disease. He was taken in by John Allan, but this was no safe haven. Edgar exhibited his talent for writing at the young age of 13, but Allan was angered by this, for he wanted him to take over the family tobacco business. Soon Edgard departed for college, however, Allan didn’t give him the prerequisite amount of money he needed. Edgar fell into deplorable gambling habits, and because of that soon had to drop out of college. When he returned home, he learned his fiancé Sarah Elmira Royster had fallen in love with someone else. Distraught and upset, Poe concurred to move to Boston.

Soon, Frances Allan, his foster mother died. At this time, Allan and Poe were in a stage of getting along. Allan decided to help Poe get to the high ranks of the army. Poe was doing well, and rose to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major, before being honorably discharged from the army. He soon entered the West Point Military Academy, where he was excelling in his studies; although, he ended up being kicked out for being negligent of his responsibilities. Around this time, Poe published his first book; Tamerlane, and other poems. In 1834 Allan died and left Allan with nothing as an inheritance. After returning home, he became an editor for the Southern Literary Messenger, where he worked for two years. Considered scandalous now, he married his cousin Virginia, in 1836.

Poe and Virginia had a hard life full of despair and sorrowfulness. They lacked money and success. While Poe’s writing is widely known now, when he was alive, it got a minuscule amount of attention. Success came from winning a short story writing competition. Over the next few years, he was an editor for many newspapers and the like. He also at this time wrote many famous pieces such as “The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabelle Lee, The Black Cat, etc”. Another contributor to why he wrote dark, may be his wife’s young death. In 1847, At the age of 24, Virginia died of tuberculosis. Even with one less mouth to feed, Poe still struggled financially. He is assumed now, to have had depression, been enormously stressed, and an alcoholic; these could also be reasons that contributed to his depressing writing. Two years after his wife died, he joined her. His death is an epicenter of conspiracy theories: rabies, epilepsy, or carbon-monoxide poisoning are some probable theories of causes of his death.

After doing extensive research, I’ve concluded that Poe was a misunderstood man with a strenuous life. Most speculate that his depressing writing was caused by his childhood, family life, or mental state. I agree with them, especially in the case of his childhood. John Allan could be the main reason for Poe’s sad life and writing. Respected by some, rejected by others, Poe left a legacy of depressing and sorrowful writing.


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