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Edgar Allan Poe - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 26 November 2013 Poe’s Real-life Experiences and Issues in His Dark, Pessimistic Literary Works Edgar Allan Poe is known as the writer who invented horror and detective literary genres. His stories have real-life substance for they are as dark, mysterious, and remarkable as his real life…
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Edgar Allan Poe

Download file to see previous pages... From here, Edgar suffered other traumatic experiences that must have shaped both his personality and writing content and style. Edgar Allan Poe used his literary works to cope with real-life problems and vent out frustrations, where his traumatic childhood and adult life experiences and substance abuse also manifest in the darkness and negativity of his literary works. Edgar Allan Poe abused several substances in his life, which reflected in his works. Poe has used opium since his youth. His nurse used opium and laudanum to calm him down during his childhood (Iszaj and Demetrovics 1615). This drug-based treatment suggests that like Poe’s sister, Rosalie, who had a mental illness, Poe might be suffering from an emotional or mental illness too. This could not have been surprising, for the paper, since he endured the loss of many loved ones, all direct family members, at such a young age. Poe’s substance abuse reflected in his writings too. Some of his characters are also substance abusers who experienced depression and hallucinations. For instance, in one of his stories, “Ligeia,” the narrator loved Ligeia, his first wife, so passionately that when she died from sickness, he became addicted to opium. It is an example of how Poe’s own addictions shaped his stories and their characters, as if doing so helped him release the tensions of his life. In addition, because of drug use, Poe suffered from hallucinations, and so did some of his story characters (Iszaj and Demetrovics 1616). The narrator of “Ligeia,” for instance, had hallucinations from opium use, such as when the furnishings of his house take surreal forms and colors: Wild visions, opium-engendered, flitted, shadow-like, before me. I gazed with unquiet eye upon the sarcophagi in the angles of the room, upon the varying figures of the drapery, and upon the writhing of the parti-colored fires in the censer overhead” (Poe). These hallucinations do not only distort the physical environment, but for the paper, it represents the mental and emotional tortures that the character experiences. The narrator notes his misery after losing his wife: “She died; --and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no longer endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim and decaying city by the Rhine” (Poe “Ligeia”). Poe expresses the narrator’s mental anguish, that, substance abuse reinforces, through depicting the darkness that his characters feel inside them. The paper thinks that the same darkness is inside Poe, which substance abuse somewhat relives temporarily, but worsens in the long run through increasing depression. To continue with these substance abuse problems, Poe, like his father, abused alcohol at some points in his life. Alcohol abuse may be a way of dealing with life problems, such as being heartbroken and dealing with a potentially untreated mental illness (Iszaj and Demetrovics 1616). Illness, substance abuse, and death are mainstays in Poe’s stories, such as “The Black Cat” (on alcoholism and murder), “Ligeia” (opium addiction after death of wife), and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (on mental illness and murder). In “The Black Cat,” the narrator admits his alcoholism and how it changes his temper and moods, making him more verbally and physically abusive towards his pets and wife: But my disease grew upon me - for what disease is like Alcohol! - and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Edgar Allan Poe
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