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Edgar Allan Poe Essay

1253 words - 6 pages

Edgar Allan Poe is known for his many works that are dark and mysterious. He became known as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe had a dark, troubled life growing up. Both his biological parents died when he was a young boy and was separated from his siblings when another family adopted him. His foster father was in the tobacco industry, but Poe did not want to be involved in that business. He wanted to write. He went to college with very little money. He was so embarrassed by his poverty that he came back home, only to find that his fiancée got engaged to someone else in his absence. He left again, before finding out that the only mother he had ever known was dying of tuberculosis. By the time he returned she had already been buried. Allan, his foster father, helped Poe get into the United States Military Academy at West Point. Allan remarried and did not invite Poe. Poe was angry and wrote Allan detailing all the wrongs Allan had committed against him and threatened to get himself kicked out of the academy. Poe’s wife got tuberculosis, which had already taken the lives of his mother, brother, and foster mother.Because Poe had such a dark, difficult life, he used his poems to reflect his life.
Every poem of Edgar Allan Poe’s has some common literary elements, such as themes, symbols, motifs, and moods. Poe often uses similar themes throughout his poems. For instance, revenge is a common them and is used in the “Cask of Amontillado” and “ Hop Frog.” Another them he uses quite frequently is death. In almost every poem, death is mentioned. In the “Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor kills Fortunato. In “Premature Burial,” it has documentaries of people who have died. In “Tell Tale Heart,” a man his killed. Death is also in the “Fall of the House of Usher.” The conclusion of the story is the two main characters die when the house falls on them. It is possible that since Poe’s life was surrounded by death, he incorporated it in his stories. Disease is also a theme in some of Poe’s stories. For instance in “Premature Burial,” the main character has a disease where he will pass out and it will seem as if he were dead. In the “Fall of the House of Usher,” Madeline has catalepsy, where she cannot control her limbs. Disease is also in “Masque of the Red Death.” It is the time of the plaque and it keeps spreading, killing many people. Another theme is guilt. In “Imp of the Perverse,” a guy kills the girl with the candle and gets away with it. He began to feel guilty and ends up going down the street, yelling that he did it. Another story where the killer was guilted into telling the truth was “Tell Tale Heart.” A guy kills someone and buries him and the cops come to the house. He was not going to tell the cops at first but then he figuratively heard the dead man’s heart beat. Hearing it made him confess.
Poe also has many motifs that link a lot of his poems together. In multiple stories of his, someone is buried alive. In the...

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