Edgar Allen Poe and His Fear of Death

Essay by lastminutechic88A+, May 2004

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Edgar Allen Poe was a famous writer who shifted the boundaries of fiction stories. In most cases by using fear of death as the theme, but it is possible he used it because that was his fear (Hurley 1). It may have been easier for him to write these stories because he may have been portraying himself in the characters who were trying to escape death though they knew it was impossible.

Edgar Allen Poe had seen people he knew die and his emotions clearly showed in his poems. For example, The Masque of Red Death was written while his wife Virginia was sick with tuberculosis. It has been suggested that he got his inspiration for the red death, the fictional plague in his story, from her disease. The poem states that the red death was so fatal, so hideous, that the madness and the sharp pains lasted for a half an hour.

The story parallels Virginia's struggle against death and her final inability to escape (Hurley 1).

In the end, Poe could not escape his own death either, and I have yet to see the person who could. "His death, strangely enough, was very similar to his stories, a complete mystery. He lived in New York, but was found disheveled in Baltimore. He lay unconscious and was rushed to the hospital. He lapsed in and out of consciousness for days; his last words were, 'Lord help my poor soul'. Poe was only 40 years old, and no one is certain what caused his death " (Hurley 1). Many people believed he died because of an alcohol-linked illness, but it was recently discovered that Poe had been abstaining from alcohol for six months prior to his death. Besides poetry Poe had another love, cats. In Poe's time there was no...