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The Legend of Ligeia

The basic aim of this study is to analyze the very first sample of gothic short stories, ligeia. I tried to explain the gothic symbolization of characters and gothic romanticism in it as it is told “The two stories “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Ligeia” are very similar to Poe’s other short stories, in that they to have this thread of Gothic Romanticism.”[1]

First of all, the characterization of Ligeia is very complicated and through the story it is symbolized by some terms like “spiritual” (Poe,”Ligeia”) used by the narrator to describe his love for Ligeia. The narrator’s acquaintance with Ligeia is, in the very beginning, managing to get our interest and release the story’s kind to be gothic with supporting details in the following pages and the narrator also manages to draw a gothic character by using the imageries like “the graceful medallions of the Hebrews” for her nose and “the gazelle eyes of the tribe of the valley of Nourjahad” for her eye and for her beauty the familiar “Houri of Turk” (Poe, ”Ligeia”) as imagery.

The narrator also uses vague time and place in the story which shows the story’s gothic aspect. He told he couldn’t remember when, where and how he met his wife and after her death he didn’t mention the name of the place he moved by calling the place “I shall not name it” and also adding it is “in one of the wildest and least frequented portions of fair England”.

The narrator, protagonist, is also a gothic character because he is not normal as told here; “a male character in “Ligeia” is for some reason incapable of functioning “normally” in the outside world. In Ligeia, the narrator suffers from an addiction to opium, causing hallucinations and other side effects which lead to his insanity.”[2]

The other thing in the story is the gothic romanticism. This comes with the gothic symbolization of the characters, the imagery used for Ligeia and the functioning abnormally of the protagonist. The abnormality begins with the love of the protagonist for Ligeia and its degree which made the protagonist insane when she was dead. Before that, the degree of love can be understood by the emphasis on the protagonist’s love. In the story, with “dreamed that I saw, fall within the goblet… three or four large drops of a brilliant and ruby colored fluid” the man thinks his wife, Ligeia, came to take the life of Rowena by poisoning her which is not known exactly it was done by the protagonist himself since he had taken opium seconds ago seeing poison drops in drink.

[1] "Comparing Gothic Romanticism in The Fall of the House of Usher and Ligeia." 22 Dec 2007

[2] "Comparing Gothic Romanticism in The Fall of the House of Usher and Ligeia." 22 Dec 2007


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