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Quotes

Quote #1

In beauty of face no maiden ever equalled her. It was the radiance of an opium-dream – an airy and spirit-lifting vision more wildly divine than the phantasies which hovered about the slumbering souls of the daughters of Delos. Yet her features were not of that regular mould which we have been falsely taught to worship in the classical labors of the heathen. (3)

Even before we learn that he's an opium addict, the narrator can't help but refer to the drug, if only through an analogy. It's as if he can only think of the world in terms of his addiction. You get the feeling if he were that passionate about, say, baseball he'd be saying she was as "radiant as sunshine glinting off a freshly polished bat." Or something to that effect.

Quote #2

Alas, I feel how much even of incipient madness might have been discovered in the gorgeous and fantastic draperies, in the solemn carvings of Egypt, in the wild cornices and furniture, in the Bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold! I had become a bounden slave in the trammels of opium, and my labors and my orders had taken a coloring from my dreams. (18)

The narrator talks of his "incipient madness" – that is, insanity that's just beginning to bud – and his dependence on opium in a single breath; it's hard to tell which came first.

Quote #3

In the excitement of my opium dreams (for I was habitually fettered in the shackles of the drug,) I would call aloud upon her name, during the silence of the night, or among the sheltered recesses of the glens by day, as if, through the wild eagerness, the solemn passion, the consuming ardor of my longing for the departed, I could restore her to the pathway she had abandoned – ah, could it be forever? – upon the earth. (21)

The narrator is as attached to his drug of choice as he is to Ligeia. Maybe there's a connection between the two. After all, it seems that only in his opium dreams is he free to call out to his dead wife.

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