What events in Edgar Allan Poe's life influenced his stories? Are there specific instances of events like deaths of people he knew or his own substance abuse that are reflected in individual stories? 

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It is easy to see that Poe's alcoholism and probable drug use influenced his writing. The hallucinatory aspect of Poe's stories seems to have probably been fueled by mind-altering substances. The stories by which he is best known—"The Black Cat," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Cask of Amontillado," among others—all narrate dreamlike events disconnected in some sense from reality. In addition, some of the characters in these stories are described as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In "The Black Cat," the narrator attributes his mental aberration to alcohol, to the "fiend Intemperance," and asks rhetorically: what disease is as bad as alcohol? The terminology is insightful, because in Poe's time, alcoholism was still not generally recognized as a disease, but primarily viewed as a moral failing. Though Poe was not an abusive man, his knowledge of how substance-taking can cause someone to become abusive was probably based on personal experience.

Poe's own marriage to...

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