Edgar Allan Poe's Obsession With Death

939 words - 4 pages

Throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s life, death was a frequent visitor to those he loved around him. When Poe was only 3 years old, his loving mother died of Tuberculosis. Because Poe’s father left when he was an infant, he was now an orphan and went to live with the Allan’s. His stepmother was very affectionate towards Edgar and was a very prominent figure in his life. However, years later she also died from Tuberculosis, leaving Poe lonely and forlorn. Also, later on, when Poe was 26, he married his cousin 13-year-old Virginia, whom he adored. But, his happiness did not last long, and Virginia also died of Tuberculosis, otherwise known as the Red Death, a few years later. After Virginia’s death, ...view middle of the document...

In “The Black Cat”, the narrator also experienced guilt, even though he abhorred his victim, showing how death is always followed by guilt. The narrator was an animal lover who cared for his black cat, Pluto. However, the narrator became an alcoholic, similarly to Poe, and became rash and violent. During this time, he murdered both his wife and beloved cat while on an irrational rampage. A couple days after the narrator hung Pluto, he admitted, “I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented” (“Cat” 3). Although the narrator loathed Pluto for some time before its death, he still finds himself missing it, despite the fact that he attacked Pluto multiple times. This shows how death is always followed by guilt found in the killer, whether or not the killer was affectionate for the victim. Because Poe spent his life helplessly watching those around him die, he felt guilty that he was unable to prevent it and expressed this through “The Black Cat”.
Poe’s obsession with death is also evident throughout “The Fall of the House of Usher”, in which the narrator’s old friend Rodrick Usher, a hypochondriac, died of shock and guilt when his “dead” sister, whom he attempted to bury alive, reemerged. Usher told the narrator that his twin sister, Madeline, died of sickness and insisted that she would be kept in their family tomb for two weeks before being permanently buried. At first, Usher seemed to be mourning, but was becoming increasingly disconcerted. After some suspicious sounds one night, he exclaimed, "’Yes, I hear it, and...

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