Poe's Stories

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Eyes Symbol Icon
Body parts are obviously part of the gory, gothic nature of Poe’s world, but eyes are especially noticeable as the medallion of many of the haunting figures in the stories. Ligeia is at first known to us by her large, strangely powerful eyes and it is these ‘orbs’ that come back to haunt us at the end. In The Black Cat, it is the cat’s gouged eye that begins the spiral of crime that eventually condemns the narrator. And in The Tell-Tale Heart, without any further explanation of the narrator’s moral opposition to the old man, it is his evil, vulture-like eye that provokes the whole grisly tale. Eyes appear often as part of the other-worldly realm of Poe’s stories and suggest a window to the soul gone-wrong.
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Eyes Symbol Timeline in Poe's Stories

The timeline below shows where the symbol Eyes appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Ligeia
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...Greek Goddesses to the narrator. But one aspect shines above the rest – Ligeia’s large eyes. (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
These eyes are larger than human eyes usually are – there is something animal about them. They... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...the most thrilling human feelings. He has felt this way about the expression of Ligeia’s eyes. Sometimes an image will come to his mind that is an exact analogy for the... (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
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...calm but has outbursts of temper like no other, and at these moments, her large eyes became huge and her voice took on a melodious, powerful energy. (full context)
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...lost child. As illness took her strength away, she read less and her once wild eyes grew dim. The narrator knew that she was about to die and struggled to reckon... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...that enshrouds her, letting loose raven-colored hair, and then revealing a pair of large, wild eyes. The narrators shrieks. It is Ligeia. (full context)
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
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The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...see that the man is completely changed, has become very pale and thin and his eyes have a strange luster. Usher's features are so fearful that the narrator doesn’t even recognize... (full context)
The Tell-Tale Heart
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...was a strange feature of the old man he lives with, that one of his eyes was different from the other and had an evil, vulture-like appearance, which convinced him to... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
...he opens the shutter of the lantern so that a single ray falls on the eye. Every night, he is annoyed to find the eye closed, because it is its stare... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...shutter a tiny bit and emits a ray upon the man, and sees that the eye is open! The narrator's old fury is stirred at the sight. The narrator reminds us... (full context)
The Black Cat
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...is ashamed to write it, he attacked the cat and gouged out one of his eyes with a quill pen. (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
...also hates a particular coincidental feature of the cat: that it too only has one eye, though this only endears the cat to his wife. As the narrator’s loathing for the... (full context)