How was Poe’s writing affected by his life?

     Have you ever noticed that many writers are heavily influenced by events that occurred in their life? Edgar Allan Poe is one of these authors.There are a few ways in which his works relate to his life. Poe’s life was very depressing, which helped his inspiration for his dark stories. He was separated from his parents and siblings at birth, and went on to watch the rest of his family die around him. These dark events in his life stimulated his unique and creepy style of writing, which is what he is famous for.

        One example of a similarity between Poe’s life and his stories is in, “The Masque of the Red Death.” In this story, a country is haunted by a deadly plague called the Red Death. It sweeps across the nation quickly, much like the Black Plague did in Europe. If you were to catch the Red Death, you were quarantined and shut out from the aid of others. The symptoms were horrible: cutting pain and dizziness was followed by blood seeping abundantly from your pores. There is a very interesting life connection in this story. The disease is very similar to tuberculosis, which was a very important illness in Poe’s life. His mother, foster mother, and wife all died of tuberculosis. These three woman were the only people he ever loved.
        Similarly, there is also a common theme of beautiful young women dying in Poe’s works. In stories and poems such as, “Annabel Lee,” The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Oval Portrait,” etc., a young, innocent woman, full of life, dies in a strange and horrible way. The cause of death is generally unusual and different. There is a direct connection to Poe’s life in this theme. Again, this is going back to the note that he loved his foster mother and wife dearly, and they passed on before him. Virginia, Poe’s wife, was very pretty and died at a young age, just like the characters in many of Poe’s stories.
        Yet another reference in Poe’s stories to his life is alcohol. Towards the end of his days, Poe began to spiral in to depression and madness. He drank more and more heavily. The stories he wrote in the last years of his life often included an alcoholic character. For instance, “The Back Cat” was published in 1845, 4 years before Poe died in 1849. In the story, the narrator attacks and wounds his cat while he is extremely drunk. He is overcome with the fiery demon of alcohol, much like Poe became before he died. In the story, the narrator states,
    “One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him... The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer... I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!”
    “The Cask of Amontillado” was published in 1846. It was also written in first person view like “The Black Cat.” In this story, however, it is the victim (Fortunato), not the murderer (Montresor), who is drunk. Fortunato’s intoxication is what allows Montresor to chain him to a stone and trap him forever in the catacombs. It is a different version of the theme of alcohol, but it still includes a drunken person.
    In short, Poe’s life was rather awful, and it is apparent in many of his stories and poems that the events in his past had a huge impact on his writing. In fact, if life hadn’t been so cruel to him, Poe may have not written his classic tales we’ve come to know and love.
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