Be Still My Beating Heart
Having read the great many works of Edgar Allan Poe in my short lifetime, I am befuddled with the ideas of who Poe is and why he wrote such aberrant works. Looking into the stories of “The Mask of The Red Dead” and “The Cask of Amontillado”, Poe writes of morbid and even ghastly death, tenebrous scenery, and grave misfortunes. Is Poe an evil and foreboding soul? Letters have been written and the great detective writer’s mystery needs the case to be cracked to interpret the truth here in; the writings are a great key to answers of the riddle. Is his works evidence of his sorrow or just the brilliant mind of the forefathers in Dark Romanticism?
If you look into the timeline of Poe’s writing and cross reference the details of the works with the life he is leading, you will understand more in depth the reality of the man, the myth, and the legend. Poe wrote his feelings into the works. He was not absent of heart or soul. He was not evil and maliciously unjust. Poe was born in 1809, his mother and father both died within three years of his birth. Taken into a new family, one of which he was never entirely welcome, he lived a life searching for happiness, wealth, and success of being. As if his private life was not enough concern for Poe, he was absolved from his engagement when his fiancé took up another man, “Humiliated by his poverty and furious with Allan for not providing enough funds in the first place, Poe returned to Richmond and visited the home of his fiancée Elmira Royster, only to discover that she had become engaged to another man in Poe’s absence. The heartbroken Poe’s last few months in the Allan mansion were punctuated with increasing hostility towards Allan until Poe finally stormed out of the home in a quixotic quest to become a great poet and to find adventure” (Editor). This tidbit of humility begins the cycle of works Poe establishes himself. Though he was desolate in life, his most famous works were not written in this time, but rather twenty years later. Poe incurs a great many more devastations, allowing his heart to endure and grow.
In 1842, Poe’s beloved wife becomes increasingly ill with tuberculosis, “In the face of poverty Poe was still able to find solace at home with his wife and mother-in-law, but tragedy struck in 1842 when Poe’s wife contracted tuberculosis, the disease that had already claimed Poe’s mother, brother, and foster mother” (Editor). Also in 1842, Poe writes, “The Mask of The Red Death” and in 1843 “The Tell-Tale Heart.” During these years America is changing increasingly with new Irish immigrants as the Potato Famine strikes Ireland. Being of Irish descent, this is yet another blow to the caliber of Poe’s withstanding. “The Mask of The Red Death” has a setting of Prince Prospero’s castle. I picture this medieval world, a jaunting prince and his court attending a lavish party only to die off each hour on the hour, Prospero retreating in the fear of the plague...