Analysis Of The Narrator ' Of The Same Name ' By Edgar Allen Poe Essay

1618 Words7 Pages
Charles Jenkin
Prof. Vogtman
ENG 205
11 December 2016
The Role of the Narrator in Poe’s Ligeia
A widower who has suffered the loss of his beautiful, beloved, and entirely idealized wife, Ligeia, narrates Edgar Allen Poe’s short story of the same name. Soon after Ligeia’s death, the narrator enters into an unfulfilling marriage with the Lady Rowena. The narrative concludes with Rowena 's death and what vaguely appears to be the resurrection of Ligeia. Poe’s short story may typically be read as a “ghost story”, in which the dead Ligeia’s will to live overcomes death with its sheer power; however, the narrator, throughout the story, demonstrates that he is almost entirely unable to tell reality from fantasy, and functions primarily in the “schizoid-position” (Schueller 601)—as evidenced by his use of many a psychological defense mechanism—hallucinates that Ligeia kills Rowena then returns from the dead. In this interpretation, the narrator’s own will for Ligeia’s life is expressed through his fantasy, which is enhanced by his heavy use of opium. Using this interpretation, it can not be the will of Ligeia that brings her back to life, but rather the narrator’s own extreme mental illness. Although the story "Ligeia" appears at first glance to be about the power of the eponymous character’s will to live, the story’s primary focus actually lies in the narrator, and through his psychological breakdown the true heart of the story is born. A reasonable assumption is that the
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