Mrs. Amy Williamson
23 February, 2014
Edgar Allan Poe “I became insane, with long intervals of sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe (BrainyQuote)
Edgar Allan Poe has become a household name since his poetic debut “The Raven”, his most well-known poem. However, many are unaware of his haunting past and the emotional disturbances he was forced to deal with over and over throughout his life. From the death of his parents to the rejection of his adoptive father, it seemed that the aspiring Poe could never catch a break. It was Poe's dark and haunting past that influenced the tone of his works to also be very disturbing.
Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1809. He was the second child of traveling actors Elizabeth and David Poe Jr. When Poe was just a year old, his father abandoned their family and is said to have died soon after. About a year later Poe's mother Elizabeth died from Pulmonary Tuberculosis, leaving poe and his siblings orphans. Poe was separated from his siblings and taken in by a successful tobacco merchant named John Allan and his wife, giving him the name Edgar Allan Poe.
The Allan Family never formally adopted Poe. Poe had next to no interest in the Tobacco business, and often wrote poetry lines on the back of Allan's ledger sheets. By the age of 13, he had written enough poems to write a book. However, his headmaster advised him not to. Poe moved many times with his unaffectionate new “father” and family, and attended a harsh boarding school in London. The family moved back to the United States and settled in Richmond, Virginia. Young Poe met Elmira Royster and they soon became engaged. Shortly after, in 1826, he enrolled at the University of Virginia. After going off to school he began to accumulate debt and felt that John Allan was not supplying him with sufficient funds. He soon resulted to gambling to get the money. The fact of being in debt absolutely humiliated Poe, and he resulted to dropping out. It is said that Poe even resulted to burn some of his furniture in order to stay warm. During his time at the University, he wrote multiple letters to his fiance. Unknown to Poe, her father intercepted their letters, causing Elmira to not have received any of his letters or be able to reply. Upon returning home he found that his fiance had become engaged to another man in his absence. Yet another loss to come Poe's way. His remaining time at the Allan household was filled with anger and hostility, and he shortly stormed out in an attempt to follow his dreams of becoming a poet and do something with his life.
At 18 years old, Poe published Tamerlane and other Poems. He then enlisted into the Army , where he rose to Sergeant Major. This is the highest rank that can be achieved by a noncommissioned officer. After 2 years, he wanted to...