The Women of Eleonora, Ligeia, Berenice, and Morella Essay

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The Women of Eleonora, Ligeia, Berenice, and Morella

"Eleonora", "Ligeia", "Berenice", and "Morella" are all tales of beautiful women who die, but they are hardly the same story. They contain many of the same elements and activities, but their genius comes in the unique and sometimes subtle differences and intense endings.

In all of the stories we have a narrator who is involved with a woman whose beauty entrances him. Some of the qualities of these women overlap in their description, but each narrator admires a unique quality that becomes their obsession. The death and resurrection of these women causes mental and emotional strain on the part of the narrator.

Berenice is described as "agile, graceful and overflowing
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Morella is perhaps the darkest of the four women. Again the woman is described with a high forehead, wan fingers and curly hair. While the other men begin with beautiful women who decay before them because of their disease, this narrator does not ever deeply care for Morella. "I could no longer bear the touch of her wan fingers, nor the low tone of her musical language, nor the lustre of her melancholy eyes"..."hour after hour would I linger by her side, and dwell upon the music of her voice -until, at length, its melody was tainted with terror...the most beautiful became the most hideous".

In "Eleonora" and "Ligeia" the narrators re-marry after their true love dies. In the case of "Eleonora" the narrator, despite the conflict of betraying his vow to Eleonora, marries Ermengarde for love. Eleonora responds to the purity of his pursuit and blesses his union with Ermengarde. In "Ligeia" the narrator remarries someone he hates and upon Rowena's deathbed the disturbed soul of Ligeia comes, through a supernatural tug-of-war to transform her soul into Rowena's body, finally appearing to the narrator in her previous form. The disturbing reincarnation of Ligeia shows that her soul had not yet been confirmed to either heaven or hell. On her deathbed, foreshadowing, "Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the

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