Edgar Allan Poe's Death Essay Example
Edgar Allan Poe, the world renowned American author and writer, whose life was mysteriously cut short at the age of 40. Dozens of theories surround this topic trying to prove correct as to how Edgar Allan Poe died. Theories fluctuating from rabies to alcohol to heart disease and many more, but among all the theories and their evidence, one stands out. Edgar Allan Poe’s death was caused by brain cancer because of the concrete evidence showcasing symptoms of brain cancer along with a brain tumor, and deep research debunking any counter-evidence of this theory.
To begin with, the theory of Edgar Allan Poe dying from brain cancer isn’t just a wild guess. Matthew Pearl, a Harvard University and Yale Law School graduate conducted this brilliant proposition. More importantly, Pearl is the author of The Poe Shadow, a novel deciphering and digging deep into the mystery of Edgar Allan Poe’s death. According to the British daily magazine The Guardian, Matthew Pearl deeply studied the case of Edgar Allan Poe’s death for 3 whole years before making this speculation. Pearl got much of his evidence from articles and newspapers of the day Edgar Allan Poe’s body was exhumed and moved to a different location. The people claimed to have still seen Edgar Allan Poe’s brain in his skull, but was described as small, dried and shriveled up brain. This got Pearl thinking that what they saw couldn't have been his brain since brains are one of the first parts of the human body to decompose after death and this exhume was 26 years after Poe’s death.
Moreover, after carefully studying every bit of evidence for 3 years, Matthew Pearl got help from his friend’s wife who was a forensic pathologist. She helped confirm that the dried, shriveled up “brain” in Poe’s skull could not be a brain as this exhume was 26 years after Edgar A. Poe’s death and brains are one of the first components to decompose after death. To add on, some brain tumors remain as a hardened mass such as the one described being seen jumbling around Edgar A.’s skull. Pearl then put 2 and 2 together and concluded that what was seen in Poe’s body that day was in fact a calcified brain tumor. With this, Pearl knew that this brain tumor could’ve caused brain cancer, and eventually led to the famous American author’s questionable death. Brain Cancer would’ve also explained much of the other strange events leading up to Edgar Allan Poe’s death. Matthew Pearl even told the British newspaper The Guardian that if this was a brain tumor that caused Poe’s death, “It would explain his hallucinations and his mental state before he died” (The Guardian). Poe had many out of the ordinary moments before his death while in the hospital. On top of multiple hallucinations and mirages, Poe would go back and forth from being unconscious and conscious. When Poe would be awake and conscious, the man seemed crazy and out of his mind, constantly screaming and yelling random phrases out of nowhere such as the name ‘Reynolds’ which to this day has no correlation with anyone or anything. Poe remained days in this abnormal phase, where he couldn't even remember what had happened to him or how he got to the Gunners Hall in Baltimore. Finally on Oct 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in his hospital bed.
Nevertheless, there are many other theories surrounding Poe’s death such as alcoholism, rabies, coopering, drugs and many more. Alcoholism is one of the most popular theories as Edgar Allan Poe was very “lightweight” and just a bit of alcohol would have him extremely drunk. When he was found outside the saloon in Baltimore, he seemed very drunk and this was the initial thought that he had just been drinking too much causing him to forget things and hallucinate. Rabies is also brought up as a possible death because of how fairly common the disease was in the 19th century, and because Poe expressed similar symptoms to that of the disease. Even in 1996, a group of doctors had a simulation task where an anonymous patient was listed with symptoms, and the doctors had to diagnose the patient. Here, the anonymous patient was Edgar Allan Poe, and many doctors agreed he had contracted the rabies disease. Another of the most popular theories is death by cooping, which is when a group of people typically in a gang capture and beat people in a room known as the coop. This speculation is widely recognized and accepted by many for the fact that the day Poe was found, was on election day and he was at a saloon which was also a place to vote. Many other theories bring valid arguments to the table but those same theories also have some flaws.
To conclude, brain cancer remains as one of the most valid theories as to Edgar Allan Poe’s death. Other proposals such as alcohol rabies and cooping have convincing counter arguments, in which brain cancer doesn't have major counter arguments. Alcoholism can be hard to believe as the cause of Edgar A. Poe's death when according to the Smithsonian Magazine, “samples of Poe's hair from after his death show low levels of lead, explains Semtner, which is an indication that Poe remained faithful to his vow of sobriety up until his demise.” (Geiling, 2014) Poe was also a member of the temperance movement which was a movement to give up alcohol and was a part of this for months before his death. The Rabies theory is very believable up until the key fact that Poe never developed symptoms of hydrophobia (the fear of water) which people who have had rabies develop. Edgar was even drinking water in his stay at the hospital. There were also no wounds or bite marks present on Poe’s body. Regardless of the dozens of ongoing theories, not one has been proven and accepted by everyone as the true cause of Edgar Allan Poe’s death. However, one of the most prominent and recent theories, the theory of tragic death by brain cancer, is also one of the most convincing theories. Hence, the world-renowned author and book writer Edgar Allan Poe died on Oct 7, 1849, because of brain cancer expressed by his ongoing hallucinations and the dried, shriveled up brain tumor found rattling inside of his dead corpse.