Poe's Short Stories

The Dangers of Unchecked Imagination in “Ligeia” College

“Ligeia”, published in 1838 by Edgar Allan Poe, describes the tale of a narrator who is deeply enthralled by his own imagination and thoughts and is submersed in the act of escaping reality. This cautionary tale warns readers about the dangers of unchecked imagination and the problems that arise from the intertwining between fantasy and the real world. Through an internal struggle turned outward, the narrator’s actions prove to be fatal for others. Due to an excessive use of opium propelled by the need to escape reality, the narrator dangerously allows his ideas and thoughts to manifest into a female mirage whom he cannot bare to live without.

Ligeia, through her mysterious description, is proved to be a creation of the narrator’s mind. Although appearing at the surface to be a real woman, small details lead to the belief that Ligeia is nothing but a mirage. The narrator is deeply in love with Ligeia, but cannot recall significant aspects of her life. For example, the narrator cannot remember in the slightest the moment in which he met Ligeia: “The character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low, musical language, made their way into my...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1176 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9062 literature essays, 2377 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in