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The Captivating Life And Death Of Edgar Allan Poe

1548 words - 6 pages

Edgar Allan Poe, an often misinterpreted literary mastermind known predominantly by his extraordinary tales of horror, the supernatural, forbidden love, madness, and mystery, is more than meets the eye. Though his genres of expertise may indicate otherwise, Poe was a very social person, having been raised as a gentleman, and he had more hands on military experience than any other major American author in history. As a writer, Poe gained a great deal of his inspiration from his surroundings. His stay in the army contributed significantly to his repertoire, said to have inspired some of Poe’s greatest works including “’The Gold Bug;’ ’The Man Who Was Used Up,’ a satire of southern frontier politics; ‘The Balloon Hoax,’ set along the mid-Atlantic Carolinas coast; ‘The Oblong Box,’ involving a voyage out of Charleston harbor; [and] ‘The Cask of Amontillado,’ possible based on a Fort Independence/Castle Island Legend”(Beidler, Soldier 342). The death of his mother and his unfortunate love life played another major role in his writing giving him the ability to write about “. . . the intense symbiosis between love and hatred . . . [illustrating that] love is seldom as simple or as happy as popularly hoped” (Hoffman 81). Poe’s chilling tales remain prevalent to this day, providing an inspiration for books and movies that will continue for centuries to come.
On January 19, 1809, Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, a beautiful English actress, died on December 8, 1811, in Richmond, Virginia. Poe believed he inherited his talent for reciting verse primarily from his mother, he perceived her in a nearly angelic light, and his many attempts to find a woman that could equate to her memory are etched into his poetry. Poe’s father, David Poe Jr., son of a Revolutionary War Quartermaster General, and actor, deserted the family soon after Elizabeth’s passing, and perished days later, leaving Edgar and his two siblings, older brother Henry and baby sister Rosalie, to be orphans. Edgar was adopted by John and Frances Allan of Richmond. In 1812, Poe was christened as “Edgar Allan Poe”, taking the surname of his new parents as his middle name. Three years later the Allen family moved to England, where Poe developed most of his childhood education, and was first subjected to the gothic style that appears so prominently in his prose.
In 1820, the family returned to Richmond where Poe finished his early education. In 1825, Poe entered into a short engagement with his childhood sweetheart Elmira Royster, which was called off by her parent’s insistence. John Allan, made rich by inheritance, sent Poe off to the University of Virginia, in 1826, “with a concomitant refusal to supply appropriate funds” (Beidler, Soldier 332). Poe did well in college where he “impressed his teachers and fellow students with his knowledge of languages” (Minor 8) and excelled in his classes. But in an attempt to raise money, “Poe soon took up gambling...

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