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Edgar Alan Poe: A Man of Secrecy

Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 as Edgar Poe. He was the second son to Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe. Both parents were actors, and shortly after Poe’s birth, his father deserted his family around 1810. Edgar became an orphan before the age of three years, when his mother died on December 8, 1811 in Richmond, Virginia at the age of twenty-four years. His father died at the age of twenty-seven years old. After his mother’s death, the childless couple, John and Frances Allan, took in Poe; his paternal grandparents took in brother William Henry; and foster parents cared for sister Rosalie. Allan was a strict and unemotional tobacco merchant and his wife was overindulgent. Poe was educated by the Allan’s aid, in private academies, excelling in Latin, in writing verse and declamation. However, regardless of his education, he was looked down upon by the upper class of society, perhaps because Poe was never legally adopted by the Allan’s, nonetheless he was regarded as an outsider by the Richmond elite. However, being the child of former actor’s could have also added to his reputation of not fitting in with Richmond’s culture at that time.

The loss of his mother at an early age definitely affected Poe, “The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love, None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’” (To My Mother). In Tamerlane, he not only wrote about his father, but he wrote about his mother too. He had more respect for his mother than he did for his father. In Tamerlane he speaks much nicer of his mother. “O, she was worthy of all love! Love – as in infancy was mine – ‘Twas such as angel minds above Might envy; her young heart the shrine on which my every hope and thought…” (Tamerlane). He thought of life with his mother and how it might have been.

In 1831 Poe moved to Baltimore to live with his aunt, Maria Clemm. There he fell in love and married her daughter and his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was not even fourteen at the time. Ten years later she also died of tuberculosis. He dearly loved his wife and after she died his life just went to pieces. In “The Raven”, the character...

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