Poe's Short Stories

A Psychoanalysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” College

Often, the elements of the mind and past developments play a key role in understanding events and writings. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe crafts tales that reveal the inner cravings that motivate action and perception. In “Ligeia,” Poe orchestrates his story to comment on his own family history as well as to demonstrate the intricate elements of a mother to child relationship. His themes of love and obsession suggest an Oedipus complex in his narrator which creates a further convoluted story that demonstrates the complexity of family. Additionally, Poe’s three characters in “The Fall of the House of the Usher” represent the three elements of the human mind: the id, ego, and superego. This demonstration of psychoanalytic motivation explains the functions of the mind and suggests the strength of desire.

Edgar Allan Poe led a tumultuous life filled with loss. At a very young age Poe lost his mother, and while still in his youth, Poe’s foster mother died. This tragic life lead Poe to have a strong craving for motherly love which can be seen in his literary works (Jones 446). In Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia,” Poe creates a form of the Oedipus complex between the narrator and his...

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