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by Edgar Allan Poe

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

An old German city, an old English abbey, and a new bridal chamber

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 the way the narrator describes the window of the bridal chamber: it's "a single pane, and tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either the sun or moon, passing through it, fell with a ghastly luster on the objects within" (19). That same hard-to-define, odd, almost "ghastly" beauty can be found throughout the story, in Ligeia's home city, in the abbey and its bridal chamber, and, perhaps most importantly, in Ligeia herself. Really, you can't look at the world the narrator inhabits and – in the case of the abbey – creates, and not think of Ligeia. And maybe that's why the narrator can't get her off his mind. (Mind you, these locations are all also classically "Gothic." You can read more about what that means in the "Genre" section.)

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