“Ours is a world of words: calm that we call
Silence, which is the simplest word of all ”
Edgar Allan Poe was the great-grandson of John Poe, an Irish nobleman who emigrated to the United States and married an Englishwoman, raising ten children of whom, Egar’s father, David Poe married an Irishwoman named Elizabeth; both settled in Boston, where the Gothic writer was born, who was named after a Shakespearean character.
The Elizabethan conception of the universe, which is contemporary of William Shakespeare, was that of a cosmic order whose key was harmony, which resided in respect for the hierarchy and natural subordination of the inferior to the superior. Order and harmony should occur in three interrelated spheres:
The Universe or macrocosm
The man or microcosm
In the work of King Lear, the character Edgar transgresses the universal order of the Elizabethan revival, since the events raised in each order had its parallel, correspondence, and repercussion on the others. The murder of a king, the usurpation of the throne, or a revolution, led to chaos that found its parallels in an atmospheric disorder, such as a storm or an eclipse, and also in man, who fell victim to insomnia or madness.
Death surrounded Edgar Allan Poe’s life when he was orphaned as a child, which favored his intellectual development by knowing that he would live on the charity of his neighbors and relatives, John and Frances Allan adopted him and the relationship with his stepfather was always conflicting; constant abuses ended, when he was disinherited after his stepfather’s death, being in despair again when his first wife of 13 years old died shortly after marriage.
The only thing that Edgar kept of his biological parents, was the portrait of his mother and a drawing of the people of Boston, he spent hours admiring and talking with the painting as if it was alive, he was comforted with the clarity that his thoughts gave him in the darkness of the night, the murky of destiny and the frivolity of life, The Oval Portrait speaks of his mother’s painting.
The suffering with which he carried his whole life sought to hide it into the walls, all his traumas were buried and walled up as in the Barrel of Amontillado, his eternal complices were the cats and the crows, with whom he fully identified, silence was the way preferred to silence the sobs of his soul, while within himself, a living hell made him know the Demon himself, whom he always referred to in his stories.
Never bet the devil your head
«Listen to me,» said the Demon, as he placed his hand on my head. “There is a stain on this damn land that you have never seen yet. And if by chance you have seen it, it must have been in one of those vigorous dreams that come like the Simoon on the sleeper’s brain that has slept to sleep among the forbidden sunbeams, among the sunbeams, I say, that slide of the solemn columns of the melancholic temples in the desert. The region I speak of is a sad region in Libya, on the banks of the Zaire River. And there is no silence, no silence.
The breeze — the breath of God — is still — And the mist upon the hill, Shadowy — shadowy — yet unbroken, Is a symbol and a token — How it hangs upon the trees, A mystery of mysteries!
There were many phrases he cited to justify his alcoholism that he considered useful to sanitize his soul; in the bars and saloons it was common to find him drunk, ungainly, and disturbed; soon he wanted to face the teasing for his effeminate character, when he wanted to become an aggressive dog, without knowing that he could not leave of being a cat, easily succumbing to suffering; Euoforic and submerged in alcohol, Poe lived in a hell begging for help.
“I lived alone. In a world of groans. And my soul was a stagnant tide. Until the beautiful and gentle Eulalie became my flushed girlfriend. Until the yellow-haired girl, Eulalie became my smiling girlfriend. Ah, less bright. The stars of the night. May the eyes of the radiant girl! ”
Poe also made incursions in fields as heterogeneous as cosmology, cryptography, and mesmerism. His zodiac sign was Capricorn, however, he had a prominent Sagittarius ascendant, which he always attributed as inspiration for his works: in the stars, where he housed all his hopes; his work is full of hidden messages, using codes that have continuation and relative connection with all his works, mesmerism influenced him so much, that he wrote «The strange case of Mr. Valdemar».
Edgar Allan Poe was one of the first American writers who made literature his modus vivendi and this was achieved when after starving and mending, he conducted a market study to learn about the tastes of the eclectic American society that inherited the English culture and soon discovered a mythical and obsessive fascination towards gothic histories with fiction elements, based on this, he wrote stories that the masses would read and give him money, showing us the nobility of his heart and the hell of his misfortune.