For centuries people have been deeply affected by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. He uses a dark, poetic writing style to incorporate himself into his stories to expose the evil in him, which is also a reflection of the evil in everyone. By incorporating himself into the story as the main character, Poe can illustrate how the mind of humanity functions. This idea is clearly portrayed throughout the poem "The Raven" and short story "The Tell-Tale Heart".
Edgar Allen Poe was born to David and Elizabeth Poe on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He struggled through life having to deal with the death of his parents and being tossed around through foster care. A Scottish tobacco exporter named John Allan raised him in his home in Richmond, Virginia. For less than a year, Poe attended the University of Virginia, and then enlisted into the army at West Point under the name Edgar Allan Perry. He purposely caused himself to be discharged from West Point by not performing his military duties either because he was tired of it or John Allan refused to pay his gambling debts anymore. In 1834, John Allan died, leaving Poe out of his will. Two years later, Poe wed his cousin, Virginia Clemm, but kept it secret because of her young age and their relationship. Virginia soon fell very ill and died on January 30, 1847. At that point, Poe's writing began to decline. "Historians note that Poe's writings emphasizing the dark side of humanity and nature challenged the optimistic and confident spirit of the American people during the nineteenth century" ("The Tell-Tale Heart" 349). Years later, after delivering a lecture on "The Poetic Principle" in Richmond, Poe was found semiconscious on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. Little is known of his activities that took place during the time after his lecture until he was found, but he never recovered and died on the morning of October 7, 1849 in Washington College Hospital.