Edgar Allen Poe was born on January 19, 1809 to business actors King Poe, Jr and Elizabeth Poe in Boston, MA. He became an orphan at the age of three after his dad deserted him and his mother passed from tuberculosis. He grew up to become an American author, small history author, editor, writing critic and one of the individuals of the American Romantic Movement.
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Poe changed the world through his writings. His riveting classics have had a large effect on English society in the world of writing, and still on the art world, beyond literature. The extent of Poe’s influence on creation is obvious when one realizes the numerous and different artists who were deeply influenced by Poe. Poe’s strange and nightmarish work greatly influenced the horror and fiction genres.
Edgar Allen Poe, as well as, Nathaniel Hawthorne perfected the English gothic writing genre. They both have different conceptions within their work but they often wrote the same ideals. American gothic literature is dark; it deals with rational and irrational situations and often deals with the supernatural. Through their writings, you can tell that Poe and Hawthorne were very dark minded men.
Poe’s writing involved death and fear. His, “Masque of This Red Death” involves a prince surrounded by death. It is no wonder that nearly the whole collection of Poe’s writing involve death given his childhood experiences. Poe was inspired by the deaths he experienced throughout his lifetime and those advertises with wealth he encountered.
In the poem, “The Raven,” Edgar Allen Poe uses good imaginary to depict the feeling of fear, of sorrow and of rage, rage brought on by the failure of a love, Lenore. In this poem, a young writer who is mourning the loss of his beloved Lenore, when short there was a knocking on his room when he starts to examine it, he soon discovers that there is nothing there. That moves on repeatedly until this entry of the raven, which utters the word “Nevermore.” The only word the raven knows how to say is: nevermore. Even though the man knows the raven can only say one word, he begins to ask him questions out of sorrow for his dead mistress. With each question, he receives the same response, but this same response means something different to him. You can tell the man is desperate and deep in sorrow as he indulges into torturing himself with this raven. He goes from believing the bird is trained to only say one word, to believing the bird is actually a prophet sent from God. The man tortures himself to the point that he demands the raven to leave but the raven stays perched on his door and the poem comes to a sudden end.
Poe’s, “Ulalume,” is about a man who also lost his wife and is wondering is a very dreary landscape. He appears to be walking in this dreary landscape with his soul, named Psyche. The man and his soul see a bright light right before they run into his wife’s tomb; They then become saddened and begin to ponder on the meaning of the light. The man attempts to convince his soul that the light is a good sign, but his soul disagrees and become frightened of the light. The man and his soul learns the light is actually ghost who they believe had the intentions of keeping him from the casket of his wife. You get the feeling that the writer is completely losing his mind due to the loss of his wife.
Poe’s, “The Masque of the Red Death” is about a plague that kills off a whole city. A prince, who thinks he has outran this plague, locks the doors to his city and throws a masquerade ball. The red death shows up at his ball and walks through every room and when the prince catches up to the red death, to confront it, he dies. The guest then run into the room only to find nothing behind the masked figure, known as the red death, and they die as well.
Through all of Poe’s stories and poems, you find a symbolic meaning with an object. Rather it be a bird, a light, or a masked figure, each one has a meaning. In “The Raven,” the character finds himself questioning a bird, that only has the ability to give a one word response, out of desperation for answers to the loss of his wife. The message behind this poem shows how much someone is willing to torture himself or herself in order to find relief. In “Ulalume,” I get the understanding that no matter how far someone travels, or how much our souls try to lead us, it is easy to become lost. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” we learn that even a rich man cannot outrun death. Poe has a good way of sending a symbolic message, even though his stories and poems are dark and dreary.
One of his writings that brought a dark imagination to the mind is “The Pit and the Pendulum.” This is a story about a man who was captured and tortured by the Spanish Inquisition. The story tells of a man being tied to a table with a pendulum swinging above him and is able to escape by spreading meat on to the ropes, causing the rats to chew through the ropes. The captors tried to force him into a pit by closing the walls that surrounded him, but a General and his French army rescued him. For the time that this story was published, it is considered a dark and scary story.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator describes a scene about how he killed an old man, who was also a loved one, because he found his eye bothering. The narrator states that he set still and did not move a muscle for a whole hour.
Poe’s writings were dark and often spoke of death or the lost of a loved one but, how did his writings impact literature? Poe made scary stories mainstream and he is credited with the invention of the horror genre. His writing intrigues a dark sense of mind and many became interested in his “The Raven.” His writing began to gain fame and that fame has continued even through the generation of today’s society. The 1932 motion picture “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Roger Corman’s 1961 “The Pit and the Pendulum” are considered among the best adjustments. A 1953 vivified short “The Tell-Tale Heart” was selected for an Oscar yet additionally edited with an X-rating by the British Board of Film Censors.
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The world renowned Stephen King said Poe was one of his favorite artist while in high school, which is no surprise given the work of King. Despite his famous writings, Poe died in poverty because he lacked business skills and no alternative income. When film became a popular medium, Poe’s stories were rapidly adapted by horror directors because of the thrilling and dark nature of the tracks. During the 20th century, his popular stories were filmed in many different styles and inspired directors of different horror movements and eras. Typical of the genre of horror, the majority of Poe’s films were low-budget and sloppy.
From time to time, however, horror giants like Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Roger Corman would make some effort to adapt Poe’s stories to classic horror films that stand the test of time. Some films that were created and influenced by Edgar Allen Poe’s work are “Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key,” “The Avenging Conscience,” “Castle of Blood,” and even “Tales of Terror.”
“Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key,” is based on Poe’s “The Black Cat.” This movie features an abusive alcoholic who lives with his wife in an old mansion, and they own a black cat, named Satan. The movie has a dramatic plot twist when the wife dies and the alcoholic begins to suffer. His niece comes to live with him and plans to take his money and the only way the niece believes she can do that is by killing him and his cat. The story of “The Black Cat” has a similar alcoholic character who owns a black cat, but the story is very different from the movie afterwards. The main character in Poe’s story blinds his cat when he’s drunk and kills it later when he can’t bear the guilt every time he sees the animal.
“The Avenging Conscience” is compared to Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and it tells a story who of a boy who has fallen involve with a girl, but his uncle will not permit the relationship between the two. The young man soon began to experience mortal appearances, making him mentally unstable. He is compelled to kill his uncle and bury him in the wall. Although he is happy in the beginning, the horrible visions reappear and his torment continues. This story compared to the tortured man in Poe’s story.
Not many can tell that the “Castle of Blood” was influenced by Poe’s work. But it is a story about a reporter who agrees to stay in a haunted house until dawn. The reporter finds out quickly that the house is filled with the spirits of murdered people. The ghost need his blood to come back to life once a year and the reporter realizes that he must escape in order to survive and he is determined to escape with the help of the love of his life. This movie was influences by Poe’s work due to its eerie atmosphere, death and darkness that is presented throughout.
“Tales of Terror” is part of a series of short stories written by Roger Corman, a horror legend. The first film is tailored from “Morella,” a story where a woman visits her father’s United Nations agency lives during a summing up recent house. The father, vie by worth, resents his girl for killing his married woman Morella in parturition and acts without emotion towards her still. Over time he softens to her once he learns that she is terminally unwell, however their reunion is interrupted by the malicious ghost of Morella United Nations agency needs revenge.
Thanks to the works of Poe, darkness and scary stories were popularized and mainstreamed. Even in 2018, we are still intrigued with scary movies and stories. When we browse a horror novel or watch a horror film, we tend to reply to the damaging and ugly things that are being represented. We bear a variety of emotions as we observe or read, and through that have we tend to learn one thing regarding our own responses. Horror provides us with insights into ourselves and into the dark corners of the globe, and it lets us develop and refine brick skills which will be important later in life.
- “Why Horror Is so Popular.” Sciencenordic.com, sciencenordic.com/why-horror-so-popular.
- “Edgar Allan Poe.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 2 Aug. 2017, www.biography.com/people/edgar-allan-poe-9443160.
- Poole, W. Scott. “An Unrequited Obsession: Poe and Modern Horror.” Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, 2 Sept. 2018, www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view.
- “The 10 Best Horror Movies Based on The Works of Edgar Allan Poe.” Taste of Cinema – Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists, www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/the-10-best-horror-movies-based-on-the-works-of-edgar-allan-poe/.
- THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 9TH ed., Robert S. Levine.
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