Essay on Resurrected Love: an Analysis of Edgar Allen Poe's Ligeia

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Edgar Allen Poe's short story Ligeia, in a style much like that of The Fall of the House of Usher, has all the makings of a classic, gothic horror tale. It is a story of a love so strong that it overcomes the realms of death. The unnamed narrator is so in love with the Lady Ligeia, as she is with him, that her untimely death soon after their marriage was unable to separate them. Ligeia rejoins the narrator in life through the body of another, Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine. Rowena is the second wife, and she too dies shortly after her marriage to the narrator. Though he marries another, he still thought only of Ligeia. With Rowena's death, Ligeia saw the chance for a reunion with her beloved. She returned first in spirit, though …show more content…
She possesses an intellect far superior to that of women, and for that matter many men of her time, including the narrator. Lady Ligeia is a beautiful and learned witch-figure who is seemingly close to the spirit world. Throughout, she proves this connection by her God-like victory over human death and she is a triumph to the entire metaphysical process (Abbey 331). Ligeia also explores the regions of the ego, the split personality, the conflict between irrational forces, and the struggle of the human mind. The narrator was an addict of the drug opium, a hallucinogenic. Is it possible that this habit caused him to have the visions that he had? With his increasing grief over the loss of his beloved Ligeia, the use of drugs as a means of escape became more prevailing. He married another woman on the rebound and he slowly began his descent into madness. Author Patrick Quinn suggests that he practically assassinated Rowena with poison and mental cruelty (Abbey 335). In addition to its being a gothic horror tale, this story can also be read as a fine example of the effects of the use of opium on a highly imaginative writer. Poe was himself an addict. Since Poe did create the narrator of the story as an addict of the drug, then can it not be said that the entire story can be viewed as a visual and mental result of opium's effect on the human brain? The effects of the hallucinations may have