Edgar Allen Poe's Allegory of a Dream

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Poe’s Works Mirror His Life
Richard Wilbur once referred to the works of Edgar Allan Poe as an “allegory of dream- experience”. Indeed, Poe’s works seem to be filled with oddities such as talking birds, incestuous twins and other fantastic events that Wilbur realized could only “occur within the mind of the poet” and although Poe’s works are undoubtedly magnificent, most of Poe’s life was spent in misery, alcoholism, and loneliness. He imbues each of these problems from his life into the details of his stories. Poe, while living his own life in despair, attempts to channel his sorrow through literature, into his works. Although one could argue that Poe’s works were well planned texts, it is understood that Poe’s works simply emerge from the depths of his inner mind. Since dreams are a combination of creative and unrealistic thought mixed with events from life, Poe’s stories seem bizarre and unrealistic, but still hold a resemblance to his life. Every detail of Poe’s stories is essentially a reflection of his miserable experiences. Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” demonstrates many aspects of Poe’s life and vaguely presages his wife’s death. Poe’s character Roderick is living in a state of insanity. Roderick’s mental condition indicates Poe’s sanity; or lack thereof. Roderick is in an “unnerved pitiable condition” (Page 162), which is a direct representation of Poe’s suffering. Unlike Roderick though, Poe was a paltry man who was not insane, per se, but filled with grief for much of his life; this grief which has been injected into his works. In addition, While Poe’s life crumbles around him, so does the House of Usher. The opening of the fissure on the wall of the house depicts Poe’s loss of Victoria, his wife. When the “fissure rapidly widens” (172) and the house falls apart, Poe may have been foretelling Victoria’s tragic death through his quasi dreamlike conscience. “The Fall of the House of Usher” is an example of totality, where every detail has...
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