April 25, 2014
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Masque of the Red Death”
When people think of Edgar Allan Poe, they probably think of dark writing and murders. His writings have been printing since the early 1800’s. (Giordano ) Many of his works are literally classics, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Much like most of his stories, Poe’s life was a dark one. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. Both his mother and his father were performers. His father abandoned the family to continue on with his acting career, and not even a year later, Poe’s mother died. (Hoffman ) When this happened, he went to live with John and Frances Allen. Although Poe was never adopted, he had a family. While attending the University of Virginia, his fellow classmates were describing him as a dark and gloomy person. John Allen pulled Poe out of school because Poe racked up a gambling debt and at the time John was supporting him. When this happened, Poe joined the army. He was a cadet at West Point, but left shortly after John quit sending him money. Afterwards, Poe moved to New York City and began to have is poetry published. IN 1835 Poe got a job working for the Southern Literary Messenger. At this time, he married his cousin, Virginia Clemm. Poe kept his job until January of 1837. At this time he moved to Philadelphia where his drinking problem, which he has had since his earlier adulthood, became worse. (Blum) The years of 1846 and 1847 were hard on Poe. First, the paper he was working for had failed, and then his wife got sick and died. At this time, his drinking took over his life. Not many years later, Poe became very sick and was taken to the hospital. He took his last breath on Sunday, October 7, 1849, at a young age of forty. To
this day, Poe is widely considered one of the greatest poets of the century. All of the events that took place in his life influenced his writing. (Pritchard)
The two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death,” both share a similar tone, but they occur in very different ways. As it happens in both stories, death occurs. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a very simple man narrates the tale of how he kills his wealthy benefactor. Poe’s life is reflected in this work. His social insecurities and his weird obsession with death are present. “The Masque of the Red Death” is about a prince who turns his back on his country while a plague attacks the land. Much like “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Masque of the Red Death” reflects his life through social insecurities and through his weird obsession with death as well.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a regular, everyday man addresses the reader by claiming he was nervous. At this point, he is assuring the audience that he is not mad, just very nervous. This man says that he is going to tell a story where he confesses to killing an old man....