Edgar Allan Poe Essay

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Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most prolific, acclaimed writers known today. His various, diverse writings have been studied, discussed and analyzed by many. Many of his works, from his poem “The Raven”, to his short story “The Cask of Amontillado” are extremely well-known and highly regarded. His writings are known in particular for their melancholy and often gruesome themes. Who is the man behind the literature that had become so much a part of today’s culture? What experiences may he have drawn upon in order to create his many masterpieces? Edgar Allan Poe’s mental illness impacted his life in many ways, and strongly influenced his works.
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, to David and Elizabeth Poe, both actors, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, a heavy drinker, abandoned the family when Poe was a year old, and at two years of age, Poe witnessed his mother’s death of tuberculosis. He was haunted by his mother’s death; it was a topic that he often explored in his writings later in life. Poe was then separated from his two sibling and taken in by the Allans, from whom he took his second name, in Richmond, Virginia. Although, Poe had a good relationship with his foster mother, he had a turbulent relationship with his foster father, with whom he often argued (Giammarco, 2012).
As a child, Poe attended school in England for five years, and he later returned to America to continue his schooling. Poe was described by teachers as “mischievous” and “excitable… with a great deal of self-esteem”, and at the same time very “defensive and threatened by negative comments” (Giammarco, 2012). He was a talented student, but had few friends, fearful of allowing others to get close to him. In 1826, Poe attended the University o...

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...were that hope of pride and power now offer’d, with the pain. Ev’n then I felt – that brightest hour I would not live again: For on its wings was a dark alloy. And as it flutter’d – fell” (20). This verse can be seen as a description of the “crash” sufferers of bipolar experience following the manic episodes. Following the disproportionate joy and excitement, he begins to fall from the heights of ecstasy into despair.
Edgar Allan Poe was a highly successful and talented writer; many of his works are often quoted and analyzed today. His life, however, was fraught with difficulties and mental illness. In a time when mental illness was barely recognized, and was often viewed as insanity or choice, Poe was faced with many obstacles preventing him from achieving his goals. Despite his difficulties, he achieved great things and worked to become a most accomplished writer.
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