Is Ayesha a god?

The nature of She is never fully explained by Haggard at any point throughout the text.  Her ability to die seems to indicate that she is only a mortal human, but at various points in the story she alludes to god-like powers.

The idea of treating Ayesha as a human certainly has a great deal of evidence behind it.  First, and most obviously, she can die (no matter how immortal she believed herself to be).  Though she has lived two thousand years, when exposed to the fiery essence of Life for the second time, she shriveled and died.  It is also apparent that a great deal of her power over the Amahagger people, as well as over Holly and Leo, is derived from her beauty, not any sort of divine influence.  Indeed, she saves Leo’s life with a potion, not magic (179).  This evidence, therefore, suggests that she had no divine powers.  Ayesha, though a beautiful woman, was just that–a woman, not a god.

The question would be settled if there was not so much evidence to the contrary.  At multiple points, divine powers are assigned to Ayesha.  She is 2,000 years old, indicating that she cannot be purely human.  However, her longevity is owed to a source of Life that can just as easily take it away, resulting in a sort of qualified immortality.  At other points, clear Biblical references emerge to demonstrate godlike abilities.  She informs Leo that once she kisses him, she will “give to thee dominion over the sea and earth,” a clear reference to the Genesis 1 creation story with She taking the place of God.  The fact that Ayesha believes that the world is hers to give at all seems to be evidence of a divine nature.

The reality is that She lies somewhere between human and god.  The result is that Haggard gives a human woman a great deal of power, similar to that of God.  That she is not God himself comes into play at the book’s climax, when Holly surmises that her death is the result of divine Providence acting to destroy her.

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