Edgar A. Poe

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Edgar Allen Poe was well known for his dark and mysterious writing, but what caused his abrupt death? How he died is very controversial, because there is little evidence to support any theory. Several people suggest that he died either of rabies, exposure, or alcohol abuse. Although Poe’s death remains in doubt, I believe that several factors led up to the writer falling ill. I have gathered from the biography excerpt renamed “Poe’s Final Days” by Kenneth Silverman, the article “Poe’s Death is Rewritten as Case of Rabies, Not Telltale Alcohol”, with the letter to the editor in response published in the New York Times, that Edgar Allen Poe died of symptoms of alcoholism, that escalated from stress.

In the biography “Poe’s Final Days” by Kenneth Silverman, the author reveals accounts during the end of Edgar Allen Poe’s life that point towards the idea of alcoholism being the killer. Silverman traces back to before Poe fell ill, over his hospital stay, and during his rapid death. Over this time period, the writer faced great stress like parting from his wife. He set for Baltimore soon after, where he was found abusing alcohol. The author states “Poe seemed to Walker ‘rather the worse for wear’ and ‘in great distress.’ Apparently flooded with drink, he may have also have been ill from exposure” (Silverman, 125). This suggests that Poe did not handle what he was going through in a healthy way. He was drinking to cope with his problems. The weather in Baltimore played a key role in Poe’s last few days as well. Silverman explains “Winds and soaking rains the day before had sent Baltimoreans prematurely hunting up overcoats and seeking charcoal fires for warmth” (Silverman, 125). This information shows that Poe’s already weak body from alcoholism was made even feebler due to the harsh conditions. His immune system likely could not handle the stress, so it may have opened up his body to a sickness, or he may have just become delirious from...
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