The influence of alcohol and drugs in Edgar Allan Poe’s life “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before” (Edgar Allan Poe). Darkness and sadness are strong characteristics of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing. The tragedies during his life, such as the death of his biological and adoptive moms, followed by the death of his young wife Virginia were important factors which formed his gothic style. Poe is known for his drinking problems and use of drugs.
Those habits had a big influence in his life and in his works. Family members, classmates, depression and disasters influenced Poe to use alcohol. The possibilities of Poe been an alcoholic increased because of the environment and the society in which he grew up (Scharf, Douglas 3). Genetics probabilities were really high to him too, once his father, David Poe, and his brother Henry Poe had hard drinking problems (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 7).
The most part of Poe’s problems as depression and alcoholism appeared more evidently while he was passing the age of mid-twenties (Black, Jamee A. ). His addiction to alcohol started while he was attending the University of Virginia and was introduced to it by classmates (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 9). Depression, heart troubles and a brain lesion were clinically proved and part of Poe’s life (Black, Jamee A. ). Was extremely hard for him to handle with his emotional and physical weaknesses, so to relief his pain he used alcohol as anesthetic (Black, Jamee A. 6). More and more, Poe’s addiction to alcohol was increasing and this over drinking was causing now trouble in different sections of his life.
His carrier was one of the first affected starting in June 1835, when the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger gave an opportunity to Poe to work helping with this paper. The people responsible for the paper and the readers really liked Poe’s effort and creativity, but he was fired after arrived repeatedly times drunk at work (Poe, Edgar Allan 2). The madness and depression that Poe felt were increasing as increased his over drinking (Black, Jamee A. 1). Poe went so far that he got into a point that he drank absinthe and brandy which is a really dangerous mixture (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 27).
Between the many possible causes of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, his problem with alcohol is really considerable as one important reason of his early death (Scharf, Douglas 1). Even though Poe was completely addicted to alcohol, many times, he tried very hard to fight against his alcoholism. Right after his first long drinking experience, during college, he tried to stay away from it (Black, Jamee A. 3). His drinking times were intermittent and he stayed abstain from alcohol for months in some of those periods (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 8).
Promises were made and repeatedly times he said that would never drink again. As one side of Poe tells him that he should stop with alcohol, the other side tells that he should drink to relief his emotional pains and usually he followed this last side once is a lot easier to deal with it (Black, Jamee A. 6). In 1847, Poe’s get extremely hard into drinking, one of the worse times during his whole life, after the death of his young wife Virginia (Hennelly, Mark M. 1). After this event he could stop drinking alcohol anymore (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 14).
Other important characteristic of his life is the use of drugs. Some evidences show that Poe really used drugs but for medical benefits in which the doctors gave to him as a medicine (Scharf, Douglas 4). Few doctors believed that Poe was not addicted to drugs and that he just used as written on the medical prescription (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 4). The problems and pains that Poe felt were so hard for him to deal with that he used drugs to forget about all these trouble (Black, Jamee A. 7). Opium was the main drug used by Poe, it made him get it the dream-world (Hennelly, Mark M. 0).
While Poe was trying to get away from alcohol were times when he used uncontrolled amounts of Opium (Poe, Drug and Alcohol 2). The use of drugs, even for medical benefits, made him addicted to drugs and this is appointed as one of the cause of Poe’s death (Black, Jamee A. 11). Poe’s works are a visible reflects of his life, history and habits, including the use of alcohol and drugs. Between the large amounts of Poe’s works written in first person is remarkable that couple of his fictions narrators admitted the use of Opium (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 1).
Roderick Usher, the narrator of the short story The Fall of the House of Usher, was a depressed man addicted to drugs which cause one of the strongest suspicions of bonds between Poe and his characters (Scharf, Douglas 4). He had a tendency for gothic style after all the tragedies during his life, and he appeared with an irregular behavior when related with women after the death of Virginia (Poe, Edgar Allan 6). An example of his personal life in his work is showed at the beginning of the poem The Raven when the narrator is reading a book to try to forget someone who he loved and that he lost.
Passages of Poe’s stories and poems are seemed as he was having a hallucination while he was writing it, and it’s possible that he was under alcohol and drugs influence (Poe, Drugs and Alcohol 5). “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity” (Edgar Allan Poe). Alcohol and drugs had expressive influence into Poe’s style and writing. Even though all the troubles caused by those disasters during his life, without them Poe wouldn’t have the characteristics that made him and his works so unique.
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