Poe’s The Conqueror Worm can be found in his tale Ligeia, a story of death, resurrection, opium abuse, more death and madness. The poem depicts a performance of mimes, controlled by vast, shapeless forms offstage. High above angels watch and weep, and at last an evil, formless shape crawls center stage and eats the hapless mimes, and as the curtain comes down, the title of the play, Man is revealed, and the hero, The Conqueror Worm introduced.
Poe’s mimes represent man, who given the illusion of self determination, are in fact, ruled by dark forces unseen and unstoppable. Even those deities and their minions in which we place hope, in Poe’s The Conqueror Worm are helpless to intervene. Poe proclaims we all meet the same fate, certain and hideous death, and the inevitable decomposition of what remains of us.
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm