The Life and Literary Work of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was an exemplary writer and a poet. He used different themes and styles in his work which made him a prominent writer during his time. Some of the styles he used in his works included symbolism that was mostly used in his three famous poems namely The Raven, Alone and Annabel Lee. His skills in poetry did not surpass his writing ability as his works prove the same. The use of similar themes in most of his stories is what made him stand out. His books; The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat and The Tell- Tale Heart all share the theme of insanity and murder. Edgar Allan gave his best in everything he did and that distinguished him and his works from the other writers. The essay tackles the life and literary work of Edgar Allan Poe.

The stories Black Cat, Tell-tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado all share common themes. In the stories, the themes of murder and insanity are emphasized. For instance, the theme of murder is evident in The Cask of Amontillado when Montresor kills Fortunato in a terrible manner. The narrator makes it hard for the readers to understand the reasons behind the murder of Fortunato.  In The Black Cat, murder begins when the narrator kills his favorite cat. The narrator who is a drunk was used to going home and torturing everyone in his house leaving Pluto, his big black cat. Later, the cat is not so lucky after all as the narrator takes his life and hangs it on a tree (Howard 2013). To prevent the narrator from killing Pluto’s replacement, the narrator’s wife gets killed in the process. The narrator hides the body in a wall but the police soon find it when investigating the course of murder.

In the short story, “The Tell-tale Heart”, the theme of murder is also evident. The narrator in this case kills an old man because his evil eyes make his blood cold. He then cuts the body and hides the pieces in the floor boards in the house. Funny enough, he calls the police over and holds a conversation with them above the body pieces. He becomes nervous and assumes he heard a noise, the first step which leads him to confessing to the murder as the old man starts haunting him. Being the distinctive writer that he was, his works in short stories never disappointed. He always found a way to relate to the environment and linking the stories with certain themes and aspects of writing.

Poetry works were also part of Edgar’s talents and success. Of all the poems, he wrote, the poems Annabel Lee, Alone and The Raven were one of his best works. Despite having a deeper meaning like the other stories and poems, Edgar used symbolism to enhance understanding. Firstly, the poem raven is about the narrator who a man sitting by the fireplace is reading a book in the hope of forgetting his lost love Lenore. He stands up to open the door after hearing a knock only to find no one was there. Filled with fear as it is already midnight, the narrator convinces himself that it was just the wind howling outside. Raven flies in through the window and when the narrator asks for its name the response is ‘nevermore’. The narrator has already lost his mind as it has already dawned on him that his lost love will return nevermore.

Edgar used the raven to symbolize the never-ending remembrance by the narrator of Lenore. The raven is the first symbol used by Poe. According to Poe, the raven was a symbol for the never-ending remembrance by the narrator of his lost love in losing his loved one, the narrator is compelled to ask the raven questions which end up in one response which is a painful reminder to him that his love is never coming back. Also, the statement that the raven has eyes of a demon proves is a symbol for the never-ending evil. Alone is another one of Edgar’s poem that is different from the rest and just amazing to read as it had his best description. The author acknowledges knowing he was different from a young age as he neither found amusement nor sorrow in things that people did. According to him, Poe was driven away from these things by a ‘demon’ in his view. The demon can be interpreted in many ways but most likely represents his loneliness and death (Sandoval 2014). The poem is generally about how his life has always been isolated and the way he perceived life and the people around him.

Annabel Lee was the last poem Poe wrote before his death. It is simply about how the author was madly in love with Annabel Lee to an extent that the angels were so jealous of their love that they sent the wind which made her shiver to death. There is a common belief that the poem about Annabel was written to his wife (Rizkyanita 2016). The love between the narrator and Annabel has been used to symbolize the passion that was between Edgar and his late wife.

To summarize, Edgar was one of the most prominent writers whose work continues to live on. Though he passed away, his words and his talent has continued to live among us and serve as an inspiration to everyone who is an admirer. The way he used poems like alone and Annabel Lee to let us into his world showed that words can achieve absolutely anything. In addition to being a star and a legend, Poe was the best writer that ever lived in his time and his legacy continues to live on in our generation.


Howard, . (2013) Seeds of a Soldier: The true story of Edgar AllanPoe — the Sergeant

Major. Army Space Journal. Vol.4 No.1 Pp. 55-57

Rizkyanita, U. (2016). Myths in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.Journal of Language and           

Literature.Pp.125-132. ISSN 1858-0165

Sandoval, D. (2014) “The Psychopath in Dostoyevsky and Poe: A Psychological Insight of a Killer”

Journal of Artistic Creation and Literary Research.Vol. 2. No. 1. P.p. 1-14


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