The Tragedy Of Edgar Allen Poe Essay

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The Tragedy Of Edgar Allen Poe Essay, Research Paper Edgar Allan Poe is one of the leading figures of American literature. He is known as a poet and a critic, but is most famous as the first master of the short story form, especially tales of the mysterious and gruesome. In Poe?s poems, like his tales, his characters are tortured by nameless fears and longings. Today Poe is acclaimed as one of America?s greatest writers, but in his own unhappy lifetime he knew little but failure. Poe had an unstable family life. The insecure place he held at home interfered with his emotional stability. He was born as the son of actors. ?The two were not notably talented; they played minor roles in third-rate theatrical companies.? (Buranalli 7) Between them they barely managed to make a

living. Poe was the second of their three children. About the time the third child was born, the father died, or disappeared, and Mrs. Poe went to Richmond, Virginia with the two youngest children. The oldest child, William Henry, had been left in the care of his grandparents in Baltimore shortly after his birth. Mrs. Poe was overtaken by a fatal illness (tuberculosis). Devastated by the disease and worn out with the struggle to support her children, she died. Edgar, two years old, and the infant, Rosaline, were orphaned. Poe was taken into the home of John Allan, a wealthy merchant. His wife, Frances Allan, had no children and wanted to adopt Poe as her son. Mr. Allan was unwilling to commit himself to a step of such permanence. ?The acting profession was despised at the time

and was even considered immoral.? (Meyers 11) Mr. Allan thought the little son of actor parents was a questionable person to inherit his name and the fortune he was busy accumulating. He was however, willing to support the child, to please his wife. Family was of the greatest importance in Richmond, the place where Poe spent most of his boyhood. Poe felt the difference between the children at school and himself. He was not close to his (foster) father, like other boys were. Mr. Allan?s unwillingness to adopt him bothered him greatly. It hurt him that he was not wanted enough by his father to legally be his son. He acted out in fits of temper and rebellion. His family did not understand his reasoning for being so upset. Mr. Allan was a hardheaded businessman with no patience for

Poe?s ?reasonless? actions. ?He handled the situation by reminding the boy of his ?disreputable? parentage; he reproached him for lack of ?gratitude? for his home.? (Buranelli 37) Mr. Allan had from time to time engaged in extra-marital relations. Some of his natural children were then living in Richmond and the knowledge of this, in one way or another, seemed to have become known to his wife. Her sorrow was great. When Edgar learned of his foster father?s affairs, he took sides with his mother. Mr. Allan was cold to Poe and it was seldom that they got along. Poe was eager to escape the Allan house, and was relived when he was sent off to the University of Virginia. His foster father provided him with considerably less than the amount necessary to pay his way. In order to

maintain his position he began to gamble heavily, this only led him to greater debt. By the end of the year he owed 2,500 dollars. He was nervous and unstable, and he began to drink. Mr. Allan?s pride and thrift could not tolerate such conduct. Without delay, he pulled Poe out of the University and set him to work at a lowly, routine job in his counting house. Poe despised his job and his foster father, so he left home. After this point the only time Poe communicated with his foster father was when he needed money or needed to be bailed out of a difficult situation. Mr. Allan reluctantly helped him, until the death of Mrs. Allan. When Mrs. Allan died his foster father remarried and disowned Poe. Although Poe had no support from his (foster) family, he still made a success of