Ligeia

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hlmiller86
Words 498
Pages 2
The Power of Beauty
Poe’s comment on the death of a beautiful woman is extremely profound in meaning. Many women fit the mold of what the world sees as beautiful, but to a man in love, the object of his affection is the embodiment of beauty. When such a woman dies, then, who could possibly speak better of the topic than the bereaved lover? The narrator of “Ligeia” describes of his dying lover, “For long hours… would she pour out before me the overflowing of a heart whose more than passionate devotion amounted to idolatry. How had I deserved to be so blessed by such confessions” (Poe 397)? Only a man who was completely enraptured in their love could tell this type of ardent description of a woman. This is an example of what Poe means, the death of a beautiful woman is best described by the person who felt the devastation of loss the most profoundly.
In “Ligeia” Poe quotes Francis Bacon on exquisite beauty having certain strangeness to it. Poe admits that the perfection he sees in Ligeia is “not of a classic regularity” (Poe 395). He has trouble, however, in detecting “the irregularity and to trace home my own perception of ‘the strange’” (395). So while Poe does not claim that Ligeia fits the general mold of what is thought of as beautiful, he fails to find a single fault in her beauty. This shows that he was so in love with her that he only saw perfection.
The theme of “will” is prominent throughout “Ligeia,” starting in the prologue. Poe stresses the power of the human will with Glanvill’s quote. “And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will, with its vigor” (Poe 393)? This serves as a type of allusion to what was to come in the story. When Ligeia is dying, she asks the narrator to read a poem that she wrote in which all of the actors are killed by a Conquering Worm (398). Afterwards, Ligeia sits up in protest to the…...

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