Edgar Allen Poe: The Cause Of Death

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Edgar Allen Poe was an amazing writer whose life ended much sooner than expected on October 7, 1849. His cause of death is an unknown and very controversial topic. Some say that he died of alcohol poisoning, while others believe that he died due to a case of rabies. Some think that on his journey to the North he had a large amount of an alcoholic beverage which lead him to die before he could reach his destination. According to Burton R. Pollin and Robert E. Benedetto, two professors from CUNY and the University of South Carolina, “ Evidence of Poe’s chronic binges is strewn through his letters in periodic admissions of ‘recoveries’ and promises to …. ‘Reform’” This could show how Poe often drank more that he should have and could be a likely …show more content…

Michael Benitez, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Benitez wrote, “The incubation period in humans may be as long as a year”. Simply stated, even without evidence of a bite or scratch it could take up to a year for any physical signs of rabies to show making his allegation trustworthy. Also, it is important to consider the fact that “at the time… the causative agent, a rhabdovirus was unknown”(Benitez). This dismisses the previous counter argument by showing how the medical education of the time was not knowledgeable of the virus that is the base of rabies and therefore makes it difficult to correctly diagnoses. Furthermore, in the article “Poe’s Death Is Rewritten as Case of Rabies, Not Telltale Alcohol” from The New York Times,it lists the recorded behaviors of Poe at the hospital before his death and compares them to that of a rabies victim claiming that this was a “classic case of rabies”.The article then points out, “Poe refused alcohol and could drink water only with great difficulty. Rabies victims frequently exhibit hydrophobia, or fear of water.” This comparison can lead many to draw the conclusion that Poe had displayed obvious side effects of rabies, making this the only logical theory. Over all after fully considering all of the evidence, the best assumption would be that Poe died of rabies rather than alcohol

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