Main themes in "Ligea". : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

In Poe's short story, "Ligea", there are several themes and ideas. For example, death; old life into new life; and gothic imagery. However, I would appreciate any help in finding some new, imaginative themes in this story, along with any ideas on the structure of the story. This would be helpful to know before November 2002. Many thanks in advance.

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2002


The thmes you stated are a bit too general. Gothic imagery is not a theme. Poe's style in many tales, fortunately, is to state and philosophize on the intitial theme, often using a quote to summarize. In Ligeia the theme can be found in the Joseph Glanvil quote right at the beginning. The undying will, the eternal power that even death cannot conquer except for the weakness of man's own will. Ligeia restates this power of the will as she physically weakens and dies. Then that will haunts and motivates the man who works to reverse the porcess by submitting his new wife to a ritualistic repossession, much in the manner of a Frankenstein story. Not magic or science, not even love, but force of will that consumes the memory and life of Ligeia's lover. As a force it is not rational or sentimental but a consuming, eternal recurrence, the naked power of which climaxes the end of the tale as in the story of Lazarus.

New themes might center on what is going through the obsessed lover's mind,love turning to cruelty, rituals and murder. In other words, the story presupposes that death HAS destroyed everything but Ligeia's undying will, including everything in the lover. For Poe such memory or obsession may be weakness or horror for an outsider or one in thrall to God or the angels. Memory or other forms of post-death survival may not be desirable to those burdened by them.(The Raven, eg.)

-- Anonymous, October 29, 2002

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