Theme Of Addiction In Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe: Addictions Expressed through His Characters Drug and alcohol addiction has been a prevalent problem in human society for hundreds of years. Once the addiction begins, people become obsessed and focused on the feelings produced through the drug, whether it is a stimulant, hallucinogen, or depressant like alcohol. Knowing how certain people will reaction and their chance of getting addicted is unpredictable, but certain life styles and influences may increase their chances of beginning to use drugs. As stated by Psychology Today, “It is possible that some people are more prone to addiction because they obtain less pleasure through natural routes, such as from work, friendships and romantic relationships” (Barber). This implies …show more content…
Treatment of those who suffer from psychological disorders has increased exponentially since Poe’s time. During Poe’s lifetime, people did not know how to treat mental illnesses other than isolation, and a psychological diagnosis was uncommon and not very thorough. In modern times, mental health research has found more effective and kinder ways to treat mental illnesses, such as individual and group therapy and medications. According to John Cleman of California State University, Poe kept himself up to date about research of mental illness during his time. In his essay, “Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense,” Cleman writes , “Poe’s familiarity with the scientific/medical accounts of insanity in his day has been well established.” Poe had his own theories about insanity and would often refer to himself as being insane. He was fascinated with the subject of mental disorders and often his characters reflected his vast knowledge of the symptoms and effects they can cause. Poe profoundly stated that he sensed insanity and intelligence has a connection and that those of the highest level of intelligence sacrifice happiness for their sense of perception. He once wrote in his short story …show more content…
In “The Raven,” the protagonist finds himself trapped in a torturous conversation with a mysterious raven. The raven constantly cries, “Nevermore,” vanquishing the hope the narrator holds for his lost love. His obsession with the raven ultimately causes him to break down. His emotions invest themselves in whatever they can find in an attempt to cope with the pain, and as a result, he is trapped with the raven eternally watching him, constantly reminding him of the woman he lost. In “The Black Cat,” the protagonist finds himself obsessed with his wife’s cat after his life is changed by a newfound addiction to alcohol. Despite being an animal lover, in a drunk fit, he kills the cat out of spite. The guilt eats away at the man, and when he finds a cat similar to the dead one, and he cannot escape it because he is too afraid to kill it. His obsession with the cat strengthens every day, until he cannot stand its presence any longer and his resolve breaks. In an attempt to kill the cat, he kills his wife instead, causing him to sink further into insanity. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator’s obsession with both the old man’s eye and the ticking of his heart becomes his downfall. Unlike the others, this narrator makes a distinct

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