Edgar Allan Poe And The Horror Story

1872 words - 7 pages

“’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). Edgar Allan Poe, a brilliant writer and poet, is well known for his creation of the horror short story and mystery novel. He has written suspenseful short-stories such as “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” where in both stories it has the reader on edge till the very end. For example, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is about the main character taking care of an older man and begins to despise the old man’s bad eye. In the end the main character kills the old man and places his body under the floor boards and ends up turning himself in due to his own insanity and hallucinations. So to understand how Poe was able to write such masterpieces the reader must understand the life he lived and where his inspiration came from. He had a very rough life from losing his parents at a young age to having to drop out of college later in life. Poe also had a drinking problem, which ran in the family. So Poe’s peculiar life gives an insight to why and how he was able to write such intense, horror stories.
In Boston, a young actress by the name of Eliza Poe, gave birth to her second son, Edgar on January 19, 1809. She had a very fulfilling career as an actress, playing nearly 300 parts including Shakespeare’s Juliet (Meyers 2). After her first husband (Charles Hopkins) died for unknown reasons she married David Poe Jr., who was originally raised to find a career in law (3). However, he ended up becoming an actor and joining Eliza’s group. He ended up playing 137 roles (nineteen were Shakespearean), many of which was the romantic hero because of his charming looks and features (3). However he could not act and many times critics gave him very harsh views causing him to go on drinking rampages. On one occasion he threatened a critic and became very hostile for giving him a bad review but giving his wife a very good one (3-4). Once Edgar Allan Poe was born it sparked a financial crisis for the family. He was also the second of three children; Henry who as well became a poet before his early death, and Rosalie who grew up to teach penmanship at a Richmond's girl school (Beebe and Inge). The children were cared for mainly by the paternal grandparents and occasionally friends. David -in July 1811- ended up leaving the family and never being heard from again; many believe it was because of too much pride and being so poor upset him (Meyers 5). A year later, Eliza became very ill with tuberculosis and ended up passing away. (Poe was only three at the time.) Poe then was sent to live with the John Allan and his wife Francis Allan while his siblings went to live with other families. John was a very wealthy tobacco merchant and he and his wife did not have any children. He also pushed Poe to become a business man but he just wanted to become a poet like his idol; British poet, Lord Byron (Beebe and Inge). By thirteen Poe had written...

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