Psychology and Edgar Allen Poe

Anyone who has ever enjoyed stories like The Raven or the Tell Tale Heart are probably understand that Edgar Allen Poe was dealing with some personal demons. There are many people who have since tried to label his psychological problems and diagnose them for later generations. However it is clear that Poe was generally a neurotic individual with a tendency to lean toward the dramatic. Fortunately for amateur psychologists, Poe left many letters behind, which give a keen picture into the thought process of the great writer. He was a narcissistic, and self important man who stated to his family often that, “he believed he contained a spark of genius but it was bathed in misery.” This misery was the landscape in front of which some of the greatest writing of the Nineteenth Century.

Tales Not Wrong

One of the first things that a person might conclude by reading the scary stories of Edgar Allen Poe is that he had to be a mad man to think of those sorts of things. However as the world has found with modern day writers like Stephen King, the creativity of horror can come from just expressing ordinary events in extraordinary ways. The fact that Poe most likely had some psychological issues does not mean that he was a murderer or any more grotesque in his thought than anyone else at the time. He merely expressed it through the written word. Often times the release of thoughts through the written word allows a cleansing of the mind that can’t occur in any other manner. The writings of Poe in and of themselves do not reveal a mad person.

Because of Poe’s depiction of characters and events that were centered on the depravity of mankind, the characters in the writing found their creation. His entire life was a financial struggle that was full of illness and loss. Most of his dark thoughts came from a life experience that treated him quite brutally.


Edgar Allen Poe was a famous writer of the 19th Century and his cryptic writing style revealed a psychological profile that was developed over a short and tragic lifetime filled with poverty and loss. The writing itself does not make Poe a dangerous person in his day, his behavior and personal letters simply reveal a dramatic soul that was searching for peace. Regardless of his mental state during and at the ending of his life, it can’t be argued that the writing of Edgar Allen Poe has represented pure genius.

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