Ligeia is the foremost example of the power of the will in Poe's short stories, as she agrees with the epigraph's claim that "man doth not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will." In the end, her will is enough to counteract the usual inevitability of death, as seen in such stories as "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." By contrast, the narrator of "Ligeia" and his second wife Rowena are weak-willed and come to be dominated by Ligeia's memory. Other stories, such as "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "A Descent into the Maelström," have characters who seem to face certain death but overcome despair because of their iron wills. "The Pit and the Pendulum" depicts the struggle between hope and despair in sharp detail, but in the end hope wins, and the narrator shows remarkable presence of mind by luring the rats to chew at his strap, thereby freeing him from the swinging blade of the pendulum.