Wednesday, September 18, 2019

One Deadly Psychotic Break Essay -- Literary Analysis

An online dictionary defines mental illness as â€Å"any of various disorders in which a person's thoughts, emotions, or behavior are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself†¦or other people;† a second definition is â€Å"any of various psychiatric disorders or diseases, usually characterized by impairment of thought, mood, or behavior† ( In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story â€Å"Ligeia,† the narrator perfectly satisfies both of the above definitions. In Poe’s story, the nameless narrator’s beautiful wife Ligeia lives with him a short time before she dies. After her death, the narrator re-marries to Rowena, who eventually dies as well. At the conclusion of the story, his first, beloved wife returns to him through the body of Rowena. In reality, however, Poe’s story is far different from what it at first seems. The narrator, under the influence of opium, creates Ligeia in his mind and, when she  "dies,† he kills Rowena himself to bring his first wife back. In the article â€Å"Poe’s Ethereal Ligeia,† Jack and June Davis describe â€Å"Ligeia† as the faulty account of an insane narrator who â€Å"knows Ligeia only through his opium hallucinations but who wants to present her as a real and credible person† (171). The narrator uses Ligeia to chase the elusive secret to eternal life. When she dies, instead of forgoing his search, the narrator procures Rowena in order to present Ligeia with a dead body to return through; thus, he commits murder to carry out his insane plot. Because the narrator of Poe’s story fabricates the existence of his first wife, uses her to pursue eternal life, and kills his second bride to bring Ligeia back, he can be classified as mentally deranged. Ligeia’s unreality is strong evidence for the instability... What the deranged narrator once perceived as a victory over death is, in reality, nothing more than a drug-induced psychotic break. Works Cited Basler, Roy. "The Interpretation of "Ligeia"." College English. 5.7 (1944): 363-372. Web. 7 Apr. 2012. Basler, Roy, and James Schroeter. "Poe's "Ligeia"." PMLA. 77.5 (1962): 675. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. Davis, Jack L., and June H. Davis. "Poe's Ethereal Ligeia." Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. 24.4 (1970): 170-176. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. Espejo, Roman. Mental Illness. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Print. "Mental Illness - Definition." The free dictionary by farlex. Farlex, Inc., 2011. Web. 13 Apr 2012. . Rabkin, Leslie Y. Psychopathology and Literature. San Francisco, CA: Chandler Publishing Company, 1966. Print.

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