In a world of chaos and madness, great minds are revealed through the tragedies of life. Morbid works of art or literature arise, hand-in-hand, with hardships, forming a dark interval in society. The madness behind one specific genius in literature is exposed through poems and short stories, displaying a state of psychosis and societal suffering. This madman is Edgar Allan Poe. Throughout the evolvement of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”, and short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, ironic measures are displayed, emotional torment is revealed, and irrational decisions transform sanity into psychosis, resulting from the pressures of society.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the protagonist resides with an elderly gentleman who has never inflicted harm, in any way, against him. With this said, the main character decides to murder the older man. In the story, the murderous man goes to say “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold, I had no desire. I think it was his eye” (Poe, 1983). A blinded, gray eye triggers the motive of murder, with no rationalization. With no hate against the older man, murder appears as too much. The irony of this tale uncovers a psychological predicament within the sole character.
The irony also portrayed in Poe’s poem “The Raven”, appears in the loneliness of a distraught heart. While living in a lonely dwelling, the main character is visited by a bird, specifically a raven. With a repetitive disturbance swatting his door, the protagonist checks multiple times, in hopes of it being his lost love. He is mistaken as each time it is just the raven. After several times of confrontation with the bird, the main character begins to stir crazy, expecting answers from the bird, as if it were human.
Edgar Allan Poe painfully drudged through rough and tragic events, impacting his literary work in many ways. Within his childhood, Edgar’s parents both unexpectedly perished, along with his older brother’s young death. Edgar was not so graciously “taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan of Richmond”. From the age of three, Poe subsided with the Allan family, without choice. Growing up as a part of the Allan domain came to be one of the biggest effects on not only Poe’s life but also his mentality in his writing. Throughout his life-span in the Allan home, much of his writing was not permitted by his adoptive father, Mr. Allan. “Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer”.
Learning and understanding the requirements that lay before him, Poe had but one option. Staying out of trouble with his folk, Poe began following and obeying the desires of Mr. Allan. Poe applied to and attended his first semester of college. However, he was poverty-stricken as “the miserly Allan had sent Poe to college with less than a third of the money he needed, and Poe soon took up gambling to raise money to pay his expenses. By the end of his first term, Poe was so desperately poor that he burned his furniture to keep warm”. He left college and journeyed home. Once returned to Richmond, Poe continued experiencing his negative fate when he learned of the betrayal of his fiancée. Under the name of Elmira Royster, Poe’s first fiancée broke his heart as “she had become engaged to another man in Poe’s absence”.
Rattled and upset, Poe abandoned the Allan household. Living on his own, he began to develop his literature career. After a couple of years away from the Allan residence, Poe received devastating news. Poe discovered that “the only mother he had ever known, was dying of tuberculosis”. Distraught about his adoptive mother’s death, he and Mr. Allan decided to advance in a friendly manner. This, too, only lasted a short period of time, as Mr. Allan excluded Poe from future plans. After his greed-filled actions, Mr. Allan did not make it and soon passed away.
Returning to life on his own, Poe began to excel into the publishing stage with a few pieces of his inscriptions. Within this time frame, Poe met the love of his life, Virginia Clemm. He married Virginia, fulfilling his happiness completely. Continuing to advance his career, Poe traveled to expand his audience. Although his occupational aspect of life was looking uphill, Poe sustained in the poverty level of life.
Conversely, “in the face of poverty Poe was still able to find solace at home with his wife and mother-in-law, but tragedy struck in 1842 when Poe’s wife contracted tuberculosis, the disease that had already claimed Poe’s mother, brother, and foster mother”. Uprooting his home once again, Poe traveled again. Finding his ex-fiancée allowed Poe to manage through life again. Critics of Poe still suspected his health was in trouble. As suspected by many of his time, Poe was found dead not long after reconciling with Elmira Royster. After death, Poe’s works became more famous than they ever were while he needed them to be. The fact that he worked with irony in his literature depicts irony in itself that more of the population became interested in the writings after his passing on.
Edgar Allan Poe is known as quite a mysterious figure, as his cause of death remains unknown. His works reflect all of the negative darkness throughout his child and adulthood. While reflecting darkness, “his writings give off a dark and gloomy vibe – one that instigates feelings of doom for the protagonist”. The ironic measures, emotional diversity, and irrational decisions made in Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and poem “The Raven” obtain pieces of Edgar Allan Poe’s livelihood, resulting from the pressures of his society. With the pressures of society clawing at the back of the literary genius at hand, Edgar Allan Poe left behind a legacy. His works take an audience to the emotional realization of life, while at the same time point out ironies of life. A psychologically insane manner of justice is presented, along with extremities of life and death. While Poe himself came across as a delusional oddity, his mental status enabled him to explore his soul and investigate his thoughts in a way that created a masterpiece within the binds of paper.