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Analysis

Literary Devices in Ligeia

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the strangest play you'll ever see. Well, sort of. "The Conqueror Worm" is actually a poem about a play, and unless you're an angel, you're not in t...

Setting

You're not going to find anything picturesque in "Ligeia," nope. No rainbows, radiant sunrises, or star-filled skies. In "Ligeia," the world is gray and most everything is old and decaying. Look at...

Narrator Point of View

"Ligeia," like many of Poe's tales, is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator. This strategy gives Poe a lot of freedom when it comes to the storytelling: he can create a distinct voice a...

Genre

The tale of "Ligeia" has all the hallmarks of that strange genre called Gothic fiction: death, romance, horror, supernatural phenomena, hallucinations, and possibly haunted locations. Oh, and did w...

Tone

Our narrator's a serious guy with a serious passion for his dead wife. His description of Ligeia, which opens the story, is as heartfelt as it is rosy. His love for Ligeia is obvious, but so is his...

Writing Style

Two words: Lady. Ligeia. Say it out loud. You can't help but deliver it, as Hamlet says, "trippingly on the tongue." That's a big part of Poe's style, even if it does sound a little ridiculous. (If...

What's Up With the Title?

Before we get into the profound stuff, let's get one thing straight: Edgar Allan Poe liked to make stuff up. Especially women's names. Ligeia (pronounced lie-GEE-uh – nope, we didn't guess th...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by nature of its intentness, Man doth not yield...

What's Up With the Ending?

The obvious answer to this question is: Ligeia somehow manages – through force of will, perhaps – to inhabit the dead body of Lady Rowena, transform it into her own image, and then reve...

Tough-o-Meter

Yes, "Ligeia" is a horror story. A lady rises from the dead and there's a spooky room and a freaky poem about a bloodthirsty worm. What more could you ask for? How about a heaping helping of philos...

Plot Analysis

The narrator talks (a lot) about Ligeia.Right from the beginning, you can tell "Ligeia" definitely doesn't follow the "classic" plot arc. The narrator spends the first third of the story telling us...

Trivia

In Poe's case, life – or at least the end of life – imitated art. The story of his death is as spooky as anything he wrote. The circumstances surrounding his death remain shrouded in my...

Steaminess Rating

Although there's plenty of talk about beauty, passion, and devotion, the narrator never mentions any kind of sexual attraction to Ligeia. As for his other wife, well, he just plain loathes her.

Allusions

John Glanvill (1)The daughters of Delos (3) Apollo and Cleomenes (3)Nourjahad (4)Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam) (4+)The Well of Democritus (4)Leda (Constellation) (4)Lyra (constellation) (5)
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