Poe’s Life… At The Tip Of A Pen

2196 words - 9 pages

The vision of the mind is easily portrayed through the art of literature, painting a picture with the stroke of words. The natural inspiration that influences the creation of these works is derived from the life and the experiences of the creator. For some, these tales become stories and those stories become novels, but for one man it meant so much more. The works of Edgar Allan Poe became his life; he expressed every feeling and every moment of his existence through ink and paper. Poe involved his entire life in his writing, leaving no element of the story untouched by his trademark of a past. His work became so unique and unorthodox, yet it did not lack the attention it deserved. The American critic, Curtis Hidden Page, suggested that “the essence of his work is logic, logic entirely divorced from reality, and seeming to arise superior to reality” (Quinn 31). The foundation of Poe’s stories seems simple enough, but beneath the surface remains unanswered questions and undiscovered truths, which have yet to be uncovered. The people and experiences throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s lifetime have influenced various themes including: insanity, revenge, death, and guilt which can be distinguished through a collection of his works.
Poe endured more than any individual should endure, and experienced so much negativity it was almost inevitable that the theme of insanity would appear in his works. He suffered from an excessive amount of hardships and tragedies throughout his life that placed him on the brink of insanity. The first sign of Poe’s insanity is found in his short story “The Black Cat” where the narrator claims “mad [he] is not”. Present in the state of denial, Poe’s character will say or do anything to relinquish the claim of his madness. The textual evidence is just as ironic as the letter Poe sent to Mrs. Whitman, where Author Phillip L. Roderick states that Poe seemed to be “consumed with paranoia, distrust and insecurity” (Roderick 10). From the very beginning Poe was abandoned by his father, leaving him without a male role model to instill the confidence, composure, and motivation a young man should possess. Poe was well aware of his position in life without a father and felt as if something was missing.
In many of his stories, it seemed as though Poe craved to see the pain of sorrow in others. The unstable mind motivates the body to act out in such a violent manner in order to satisfy its desires. In “The Cask of Amontillado” the protagonist, Montressor, “[hearkens] in vain for a reply” of agony from his enemy. Poe wanted to hear the suffering of his adversaries; he needed to hear them feel the pain he felt. His desire to force this punishment onto others, questions his sanity and reason. Frances Winwar, Author of the The Haunted Place, suggests that the discovery of a female body found on the Hudson “roused the sleuth Edgar Allan Poe in his alter ego.” (Winwar 226). The darkness that Poe encountered and experienced was the reason...

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