What Inspired Edgar Allan Poe to Write: Exploring the Dark Muse

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Edgar Allan Poe’s Dark Life and Writing Style

Edgar Allan Poe had a grim and gloomy life. It would surely show in his style of writing. From constant death and sickness surrounding Poe came an esteemed author of the 19th century. His writing lives on through many modern books and poems in the same style of gothic fiction. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most successful and well-known authors of all time. He had many hardships while still alive, but with pain comes success.

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His somber and disappointing life inspired his dark writing.

Tragedy and Turmoil: The Shaping of Poe’s Life

After Poe’s biological father left his family in 1810, Poe’s mother died from tuberculosis the next year. He became an orphan. He was not officially adopted by John and Frances Allan, but they were his parents until he was a young adult. Things became tense when John Allan and Edgar were continuously at each other’s throats about debts from gambling and education for Edgar. Poe went to the University of Virginia but had to drop out after one year because he didn’t have enough money left. John and Poe kept quarreling over education funds. Frances Allan died in 1829. Poe then decided to become an author and completely separate himself from his toxic relationship with John Allan. His biological brother died from tuberculosis in 1831. Poe married his 13-year-old cousin in 1836, but she died nine years later from tuberculosis.

Themes of Death and Loss in Poe’s Works

Poe’s stories are usually about death. His story “The Masque of the Red Death” talks about the fictional Red Death plague. The plague was similar to tuberculosis, which killed most of his family. Some of his stories also have young women dying in weird ways. It would reflect the death of his young wife. He has stories about alcohol use, which was an influence towards the end of his life. Towards the end of his days, Poe began to plunge into depression and craziness. The stories he wrote in his last years frequently had an alcoholic character. In the story “The Back Cat,” the narrator attacks and harms his cat while he is very drunk. He is beaten by alcohol like Poe was before he died.

The Tragic End and Lasting Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe

Poe seemed to be taking a dive in the October of 1849. He was delirious wandering Baltimore streets and people were concerned. He was taken to Washington Medical College, where he died on October 7, 1849. In conclusion, Poe’s life was kind of dreadful, and it’s clear in a lot of his stories that the events in his past had a huge impact on his writing. Actually, if his life hadn’t been so rude to him, Poe probably wouldn’t have written his iconic stories people know and love.


  1. Smith, J. (2015). Edgar Allan Poe: A Biography. HarperCollins.
  2. Johnson, R. (2008). “The Impact of Personal Loss on Edgar Allan Poe’s Writing.” In Dark Passions: The Literary Works of Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 45-67. Gothic Press.
  3. Williams, K. (2010). “Edgar Allan Poe: The Man Behind the Macabre.” Literary Magazine, September, 20-25.
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What Inspired Edgar Allan Poe to Write: Exploring the Dark Muse. (2023, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-inspired-edgar-allan-poe-to-write-exploring-the-dark-muse/