The Tragic Life of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe’s life was nothing short of tragic. Poe is known for being the starter of chilling horror and detective stories. Born in 1809, Poe’s father abandoned him and his mother when he was very young, and his mother died from Tuberculosis when he was only 3. Poe was later adopted by John Allan and his wife, they were very wealthy and Poe was happy. Unfortunately, Poe faced many problems as he got older. Some of the problems he faced were constant arguments with his foster father, gambling problems, and the sad death of his wife Virginia Clemm. Poe is said to have died two possible ways. Kenneth Silverman believes Poe died of excessive drinking, while Dr. R. Michael Benitez believes he died from a case of rabies.
In the article, “Poe’s Final Days” Silverman believes Poe died of excessive drinking. Silverman uses the doctor who witnessed Poe on his final days to explain what occurred. This man was Dr. Moran. Moran states “Feeble from his exertions he seemed to rest a short time and then quietly moving his head he said ‘Lord help my poor Soul’ and expired” (186). This was said because Poe had been ranting all day saying things of a delirious man. He was said to have been seeing hallucinations, and getting violent with nurses (two very common symptoms of the excessive drinker).
Dr. Benitez also gives his theory on Poe’s death. He believes the Poe died of Encephalitic Rabies. Benitez supports his theory by stating that “In the brief period when he was calm and awake, Poe refused alcohol and could drink water only with great difficulty. Rabies victims frequently exhibit hydrophobia, or fear of water, because it is painful to swallow. There is no evidence that a rabid animal had bitten Poe. About one fourth of rabies victims reportedly cannot remember being bitten. After an infection, the symptoms can take up to a year to appear” (187). Benitez supports his statement by explaining in a later article, that an incubation...