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The Darkness of Human Nature

  • Date Submitted: 10/05/2010 07:23 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69 
  • Words: 1897
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Denis Kirkman-Moriarty
1/14/09
Ms. Steinbach
English HH

The Darkness of Human Nature in Poe’s Short Stories

      Edgar Allen Poe grew up experiencing the dark side of humanity ever since he was born. His mother died of tuberculosis, his father abandoned him, and his foster father stopped paying for his college tuition after only one semester. It’s not surprising after all the horrible tragedies that plagued him and his loved ones that he incorporated tragic and bleak elements into his stories. Many of Poe’s short stories focus on morose themes, such as darkness and death, to present the dark side of human nature. His protagonists are often murderers and prisoners, and all suffer from tragic circumstances. Schizophrenia ails a man convinced his neighbor’s eye is watching him and only him. A man captured in the Spanish Inquisition suffers tortures no worse than hell itself could offer. A man bent on revenge entombs an Italian wine connoisseur for not remembering his family pledge. This is just the tip of the iceberg to Poe’s literature; his gothic tales are what his name is famous for.

Born in Boston 1809, Poe’s life started in jeopardy, as his mother died when he was two. A sympathetic Mrs. Allan and an apathetic Mr. Allan adopted him. After he went to college, Mr. Allan stopped funding his tuition, and soon Edgar developed a drinking problem. After he dropped out of college due to lack of funds, he joined the army. He soon dropped out to become a writer. There was no luck for him even then, as all of the stories he submitted to magazines were denied publication and compensation. He married his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia when he was twenty-seven; she died in 1847. Poe’s stress and depression at losing his wife and numerous editorial rejections led him to seek refuge in Philadelphia. At that point he made an effort to stop drinking but it was far too late. He was found unconscious in a “public house.”   He was taken to the hospital and died soon...

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