Poe was the first writer to recognize that the short story was a different kind of fiction than the novel and the first to insist that, for a story to have a powerful effect on the reader, every single detail in the story should contribute to that effect. His stories and criticism have been models and guides for writers in this characteristically American genre up to the present time.
Plot summary[ edit ] The story is told by an unnamed narrator who describes the qualities of Ligeia: He thinks he remembers meeting her "in some large, old decaying city near the Rhine ". He is unable to recall anything about the history of Ligeia, including her family's name, but remembers her beautiful appearance.
Her beauty, however, is not conventional. He describes her as emaciated, with some "strangeness".
He describes her face in detail, from her "faultless" forehead to the "divine orbs" of her eyes. They marry, and Ligeia impresses her husband with her immense knowledge of physical and mathematical science, and her proficiency in classical languages.
She begins to show her husband her knowledge of metaphysical and "forbidden" wisdom. After an unspecified length of time Ligeia becomes ill, struggles internally with human mortality, and ultimately dies. The narrator, grief-stricken, buys and refurbishes an abbey in England.
He soon enters into a loveless marriage with "the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine". In the second month of the marriage, Rowena begins to suffer from worsening anxiety and fever. One night, when she is about to faint, the narrator pours her a goblet of wine.
Drugged with opiumhe sees or thinks he sees drops of "a brilliant and ruby colored fluid" fall into the goblet.
Her condition rapidly worsens, and a few days later she dies and her body is wrapped for burial. As the narrator keeps vigil overnight, he notices a brief return of color to Rowena's cheeks.
She repeatedly shows signs of reviving, before relapsing into apparent death. As he attempts resuscitation, the revivals become progressively stronger, but the relapses more final.
As dawn breaks, and the narrator is sitting emotionally exhausted from the night's struggle, the shrouded body revives once more, stands and walks into the middle of the room.
When he touches the figure, its head bandages fall away to reveal masses of raven hair and dark eyes: Rowena has transformed into Ligeia. Illustration by Byam Shawcirca The narrator relies on Ligeia as if he were a child, looking on her with "child-like confidence".
On her death, he is "a child groping benighted" with "childlike perversity". Poe biographer Kenneth Silverman notes that, despite this dependency on her, the narrator has a simultaneous desire to forget her, perhaps causing him to be unable to love Rowena.
This desire to forget is exemplified in his inability to recall Ligeia's last name. Ligeia, the narrator tells us, is extremely intelligent, "such as I have never known in a woman". Most importantly, she served as the narrator's teacher in " metaphysical investigation", passing on "wisdom too divinely precious not to be forbidden!
The opening epigraphwhich is repeated in the body of the story, is attributed to Joseph Glanvillthough this quote has not been found in Glanvill's extant work. Poe may have fabricated the quote and attached Glanvill's name in order to associate with Glanvill's belief in witchcraft.Edgar Allan Poe’s works, with their gothic and often obsessive themes, have had a significant influence on American literature.
In this Norton Critical Edition, G. R. Thompson has fully introduced, annotated, and edited each text. A Critical Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders at the Rue Morgue" PAGES 4.
WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: edgar allan poe, murders at the rue morgue, oliver wendell holmes, old ironsides.
Sign up to view the rest of the essay. Read the full essay. More essays like this. Illness and crisis "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Man That Was Used Up" emerged in , and a Philadelphia newspaper offered a one-hundred-dollar prize for his story "The Gold Bug," but Poe's problems were increasing.
Project Gutenberg's The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. "Ligeia" (/ l aɪ ˈ dʒ iː ə /) is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a .
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is an interesting mix of styles. When the narrator's just telling the story or when Dupin's talking, it takes on this really grandiose, florid (read: flowery and orn.