Poe's Dark Appeal

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rpre1112
Words 1368
Pages 6
Poe’s Dark Appeal There are few writers as adept at invoking feelings and images of darkness, dread, and depression in a reader as successfully as Edgar Allan Poe. Born in Boston in 1809 to impoverished actors David and Elizabeth Poe (Allen), Edgar’s entire existence seems to have been destined for struggle and loss. He was orphaned by age three, losing his mother to tuberculosis and his father by desertion (Allen). He was taken in by the Allan family, but during Edgar’s year-long stint at West Point in 1830—and subsequent expulsion—his relationship with his foster father suffered irreparable damage (“Biography”). His life soon became a mélange of depression, alcoholism, unemployment, and financial hardship (“Biography”). He died in 1949 while on a trip to Baltimore, under mysterious circumstances: theories of “congestion of the brain,” alcoholism, rabies, epilepsy, and carbon monoxide poisoning continue to swarm today (“Biography”). Having lived a life of constant struggle and turmoil, it is not surprising that his works are imbued with brooding and despondency, and that the common themes in his writings revolve around derangement and death. His short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” provides a perfect example of his fixation with madness, murder, and melancholy. It is this very fascination with all things grotesque, combined with his uncanny ability to weave multiple literary elements together to create a bizarre tapestry that appeals to readers, and what makes Edgar Allan Poe such a great writer. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” an unknown narrator recounts the events leading up to his murdering of an old man. The story opens with the narrator defending himself against the reader’s assumption of his madness: True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous [I] had been and am; but why will [you] say that [I] am mad? The disease had sharpened [my] senses—not…...

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