Edgar Allan Poe 's The On The Return Of The Fair Ligeia From The Grave

1917 Words Dec 12th, 2016 8 Pages
Horror as a literary genre is written with the aim of instilling feelings of terror, dread, disgust, or some combination of these emotions in its audience. This literature does so by capturing in its climactic scenes a fear found in all humans and centering action on the fruition of this fear. Edgar Allan Poe’s Ligeia focuses on the return of the fair Ligeia from the grave, an unnatural occurrence that shocks and horrifies its audience, but it is particularly shocking to the narrator of the tale for reasons other than his deceased bride’s unexpected resurrection. It can be posited that the narrator in Ligeia has formed a masochistic relationship with Ligeia. The ultimate moment of horror lies in Ligeia’s return not because she was once deceased, but because she has betrayed the archetypal masochistic dynamic of her relationship with the narrator. Connecting the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze in Coldness and Cruelty, an analysis of the works of Sade and Masoch, provides a comprehensive view of the connections between the psyche of Ligeia’s narrator and that of a masochist. The masochistic relationship can be defined in simple terms as a relationship wherein one party has feelings of pleasurable pain inflicted upon themselves by the other, a dynamic agreed upon by a contract. The typical masochistic relationship would include the submissive party, the narrator of Ligeia, being subjected to physical pain and pleasure, but in Poe’s narrative, the narrator instead receives…

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