Poet Edgar Allan Poe’s death has been a mystery for over 170 years with theories from rabies to suicide. He received no autopsy and there are no surviving medical records of his. Researchers from Lancaster University now have the technology to see based on Poe’s language if he had suicidal thoughts which can help us better understand his emotional psyche before he died.

What was Edgar Allan Poe’s Depression Like?

When Poe died on October 3rd, 1849, he was found in a state of delirium wearing a stranger’s clothes. He died in the hospital four days later. Poe was suffering from hopelessness from his finances. He lost a lot of loved ones and had a history of alcoholism and drug abuse. 

What is the Link Between Edgar Allan Poe’s Language and Depression?

Depressed people tend to use language differently than those without depression. People who are depressed tend to use more negative language consistent with social withdrawal-like saying “me” a lot and not so much “we.” People also use “working through” language like “think,” “suppose,” and “understand.” Based on a depressed language and analyzing over 400 stories, poems, and personal letters of Poe’s, nearly 20 texts scored high on their depression index. They were more pronounced in his personal letters which have a way of showing your true self. Surprisingly, 1843 and 1845 were high on a depressive scale despite being the years his successful works were published like “The Gold-Bug” and “The Raven.” It could be because, at the time, he was not making any money from his accomplishments. 

Could Edgar Allan Poe Had Committed Suicide?

The researcher shows that the final years of Poe’s life were dark. In one of his personal letters to his mother-in-law, he wrote that he was experiencing bad health, finances, and clothes. It may be a possibility that Poe was suicidal, but it is hard to know for sure. This research shows that this is the only cause of death that has evidence. Suicide is normally more complex with numerous factors to follow. It is possible that his growing depression could have made an impact in his decision-making and judgment that led up to his death. Even though Poe’s death still remains a mystery, being able to understand a person through their writing can make a difference in understanding a person’s mental health either on paper or in social media.

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