Review Of The “Ligeia” Written By Edgar Allan Poe

In “Ligeia,” the narrator mentions that his state of mind is not the clearest. He goes on and tells his story as to how he remembers, but this cannot be trusted. The narrator mentions how he is a “bounden slave in the trammels of opium”(Poe 624), indicating that his memories could have simply been a “colouring from [his] dreams” (Poe 624). He himself does not trust the memories from which he is telling these events. The narrator cannot trust himself and his thoughts, so neither can the reader. When going through such events, he said to have seen drops of a “brilliant and Ruby colored fluid”(Poe 626) drop into the wine glass of Rowena, but he did not bother saying anything because he thought that what he had seen was either a “suggestion of vivid imagination”(Poe 626), or possibly the effects of an “immoderate dose of opium” (Poe 626).

He was sleep deprived and his body was full of opium, causing him to have many hallucinations which he could not tell apart from reality, and so some of the events told could have happened, but since even he does not know what the reality is, neither do we. His state of mind affects our reading because some of the happenings that were told are things that would only happen in movies or dreams. He explains how he was able to see the “corpse of Rowena” (Poe 628), having shaken off the “ fetters of Death” (Poe 628), and that she was now standing and going towards him “tottering, with feeble steps” (Poe 628). This logically does not make any sense to anyone, so having read that, we would have to take a bit more time to properly process the events being told. As you read, you may imagine then events being told and it may be difficult to piece the things together as it is something that is not actually possible. It takes a bit longer to read this kind of story because you have to carefully read every part of it and make sure not to miss a single detail, as anything could suddenly happen out of the blue and you have to make sense of it while trying to follow the story.

To the narrator, the death of each woman, Ligeia, and Rowena, means the loss of his sanity. When he lost Ligeia, he lost a great piece of his sanity, automatically having become absolutely obsessed with her and the thought of her, “possessed with a passion” (Poe 621). He would constantly look for her in “the commonest objects of the universe” (Poe 621), and made her, in his eyes, the “triumph of all things heavenly” (Poe 620). He explained, how only after her death he came to realize the “intensity of her affection” (Poe 623), and how he was “crushed into the very dust with sorrow” (Poe 623). “A helpless prey to a whirl of violent emotions” (Poe 628), his sanity was taken from him. After Ligeia passed, he went through yet another death, Rowena. Once she passed, the only sanity he had left, if any, was taken from him yet again. He was left with feelings of “utter abandonment” (Poe 624), feeling “remote and unsocial” (Poe 624). When dealing with the death of two of his wives, the narrator had an immense amount of emotions of depression and lost himself in drugs and drinking just as Edgar Allan Poe did when he lost his biological mother, adoptive mother, and wife to consumption. It is possible to see the connections between Poe's real life, and the story of “Ligeia.”

In “Ligeia,” important women in the narrator's life died of consumption, which is what tragically happened in Poes real life. He lost his mother to consumption and then is later adopted by the Allans, but sadly later loses his adoptive mother who also died of consumption. A bit later in life, he then loses another person, his wife Virginia, to consumption yet again. There is a connection in how all of the important relationships that the narrator and Poe had with any woman in their life was taken from them by consumption. Poe probably felt the need to see these women that were no longer with him and portrayed those feelings through the narrator in “Ligeia,” when the narrator talks about having seen Ligeia again, looking right at him which is something that Poe could have been craving.

The narrator told that he was addicted to opium and could never think straight, such as how Poe had been once his wife had gotten sick and he began to drink heavily, doing drugs, and getting kicked out of the Lyceum movement. All in all, the drinking, drugs, death and depression were all things that Poe felt and went through and was able to portray in “Ligeia.”

03 December 2019
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