Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 358
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Ligeia byEdgar Allan Poe is one of the best attempts in the world literature to merge the genres of love story, criminal story, horror story and grotesque by means of numerous effects of Gothic fiction imagery and setting. Spooky haunted places, mixture of romance and death, supernatural powers and phenomena, black and white colors and other literary devices make this enigmatic story look particularly Gothic.

The narrator lives with his first wife in the bizarre dark rooms of the Rhineland castle in some unknown part of the world. Huge ottomans, massive tapestry, fantastic draperies, gorgeous curtains, lofty walls and other elements create the romantic Gothic atmosphere. Weird noises produced by the wind in the curtain add to the phantasmagoric effect. After Ligeia dies, a widower marries again and settles in an English abbey where a bridal chamber is furnished with an enormous sarcophagus. Undoubtedly, the Gothic setting is promotive of hallucinations, fears and mystery.

Edgar Allan Poe is good at creating suspense and special mood. It is within the Gothic approach to be obsessed with certain body parts of the characters. The narrator lays special emphasis on the eyes and hair of the women. He is crazy about Ligeia’s black eyes and dark glossy and luxuriant hair. Lady Rowena is also very beautiful but she is a blue-eyed unsophisticated blonde. She can be referred to as an antithesis of Ligeia.

The writer uses contrasting the black and white colors to intensify the effect of the Gothic atmosphere. Ligeia is a majestic and faultless lady, but she represents a dark kind of beauty. Fair-haired Rowena is a personification of sanity, reality, happiness and light. The whole story is about a struggle between darkness and light, illusion and reality.

The Gothic style can be found in most of stories written by Edgar Allan Poe, but Ligeia is one of the most characteristic of his style. He uses grotesque, desolate and ghostly setting, particular colors and other devices to increase the mysterious and gloomy mood of the story which is a masterpiece of short story writing.

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