Poe's Short Stories

Gothic Poe College

Comparisons of Edgar Allen Poe’s two Gothic tales, “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”, reveal a volume of similarities and some notable differences. From characters, language, settings, literary approach, even plot devices, “Ligeia” and “Usher” have many striking connections that point to a common author. With the exception of themes and plots the differences between the stories can be fairly subtle.

In “The Fall of the House of Usher” the narrator visits an old friend who may be going mad. Roderick Usher and the narrator entomb Usher’s sister prematurely. In the end, when this misdeed is revealed, both siblings die. The narrator escapes in time to see the house collapse and slide into the lake. In “Ligeia”, a man marries a mysterious woman who inspires him. Upon her death bed she makes avowals that death will not hinder her deep devotion to him. He is distraught by her death but marries another woman though there is a lack of affection between them. After some mysterious occurrences, the second wife falls ill and dies. After a night of reviving and faltering, the narrator finally reveals that the now re-animated corpse standing before him has the features of, and in fact is, his first wife, the deceased Lady Ligeia....

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