Poe's obsession with death

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Edgar Allan Poe: How his Obsession with Death is Portrayed in his Writing

By: Nathan Alexander

ENG 1102
Mrs. Elizabeth Owens
18 July 2910

Published in: Education
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Poe's obsession with death

  1. 1. Edgar Allan Poe:How his Obsession with Death is Portrayed in his Writing<br />Nathan Alexander<br />Mrs. Owens<br />English 1102<br />10 July, 2010<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />An upbringing of Death<br />Death of beautiful women<br />“Annabel Lee”<br />Guilt of his “Death Touch”<br />“The Black Cat”<br />Revenge against the wealthy<br />“The Masque of the Red Death”<br />
  3. 3. An Upbringing of Death<br />1809 – Born to Elizabeth and David Poe<br />1810-1811 – Father disappears and mother slowly dies of tuberculosis<br />1811 – Taken in by a wealthy family, John and Frances Allan<br />1823 – Jane Stanard (“his mother reborn”) died of a brain Tumor<br />1829 – Foster mother Frances Allan Dies<br />1831 – Older brother Henry Allan dies of tuberculosis<br />
  4. 4. An Upbringing of Death<br />1834 – Foster father John Allan dies, leaving him no inheritance<br />1847 – His young wife dies of Tuberculosis<br />1849 – Poe dies of unknown causes in a hospital in Baltimore<br />
  5. 5. Death of Beautiful Women<br />The death of beautiful women is a central theme in many of Poe’s poems and short stories.<br />Poe’s life has taught him that a beautiful women is to be written about, but to love her would be to condemn her to death<br />
  6. 6. “Annabel Lee”<br />Written shortly after the death of his wife.<br />In this poem the narrator is so in love with Annabel Lee that even the heavens themselves become jealous.<br />“The wind came out of the cloud, chilling / And killing my Annabel Lee”<br />The narrator blames the death of his lover on the angels above but is determined that their love is stronger than even death.<br />“And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side / of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride / in her tomb by the side of the sea.<br />
  7. 7. Guilt of his “Death Touch”<br />Poe thinks himself something of a “Death Touch”<br />Throughout his life those he cares for and care for him dies, and never of old age<br />
  8. 8. “The Black Cat”<br />The poem follows the thoughts and actions of a married pet lover <br />The narrator slips into, alcoholism causing him to be outwardly violent<br />While drunk he cuts out the eye of his favorite pet cat<br />Poe’s expression of uncontrollably hurting those he cares for<br />The story climaxes when, in a rage the narrator attempts to kill the cat and kills his wife instead<br />Poe inadvertently killing his own wife<br />Poe’s guilt is shown at the end of the story when the cat (Poe’s guilt) let’s the police know that he is walled up in the wall with the body of the narrators wife.<br />
  9. 9. Revenge against the wealthy<br />Poe lived the life of the financially struggling writer<br />His wealthy foster father refused to help Poe<br />Poe was left out of John Allan’s inheritance<br />Poe developed a jealousy and loathing for the wealthy<br />
  10. 10. “The Masque of the Red Death”<br />A kingdom is being ravaged by a disease known as the “Red Death”<br />Poe’s portrayal of poverty in his life<br />The prince invites a thousand nobles to take refuge within one of his castles, safe from the pestilence filled kingdom<br />Represents the indifference of the wealthy<br />During a party, “The Red Death” in human form shows up and those who turned their back on the world die of the disease<br />Symbolizes Poe’s wish to make the wealthy suffer as he has suffered<br />
  11. 11. Review<br />An upbringing of Death<br />Death of beautiful women<br />“Annabel Lee”<br />Guilt of his “Death Touch”<br />“The Black Cat”<br />Revenge against the wealthy<br />“The Masque of the Red Death”<br />
  12. 12. Questions?<br />
  13. 13. Works Cited<br />Buranelli, Vincent. "Chapter 1: The Problem of Poe." Edgar Allan Poe. Vincent Buranelli. Boston: Twayne, 1977. Twayne's United States Authors Series 4. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 10 July 2010.<br />Cleman, John. “Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense.” Edgar Allan Poe. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia:Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. 65-77. Print.<br />Kay, Cornelius. “Biography of Edgar Allan Poe.” Edgar Allan Poe. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia:Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. 5-41. Print.<br />Poe, Edgar Allan. Poe: Poetry and Tales. US:Library of America, 1984. Print.<br />Pruette, Lovine “A Psycho-Analytical Study of Edgar Allan Poe.” The American Journal of Psychology 31.4 (1920): 370-402. Print.<br />Silverman, Kenneth, Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. Print.<br />Stark, Joseph. "Motive and meaning: the mystery of the Will in Poe's 'The Black Cat'." The Mississippi Quarterly 57.2 (2004): 255+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 13 July 2010.<br />

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