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by Edgar Allan Poe

Ligeia Theme of Versions of Reality

Poe offers us a single perspective in "Ligeia," and it's definitely not a straightforward one. Our narrator is an opium addict and he's stuck living in the past. He's a man who hallucinates and even induces hallucinations in his wife by way of a cruel hall of mirrors. The longer we read "Ligeia," the more questionable our narrator becomes. By the time Ligeia finally rises from the dead, we really have to wonder if we can believe what the narrator is telling us.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Here's the big question: Is that last, unbelievable moment really real? Can we seriously believe our eyes – or the eyes of the narrator? Has Ligeia really come back from the dead?
  2. Is the narrator trying to drive Rowena crazy by making the bridal chamber a huge optical illusion, or is there something more to his madness?
  3. How does Ligeia's resurrection change our view of such simple concepts as life and death?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The narrator's bridal chamber is a metaphor for his mind; both are twisted, out of balance, and always shifting.

By story's end, we are shocked and struck by the events that unfold before us, but we're nonetheless left to determine the truth of the matter ourselves.

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