Poe Comparative Essay

Essay by Barlow21High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2002

download word file, 6 pages 4.4

In Edgar Allen Poe's short stories "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" there are many similarities. They both give off incredibly creepy surroundings, and the main characters in both are very odd. In "The Cask of Amontillado," vengeance is a key theme. Montressor is after Fortunato because he thinks that Fortunato has insulted him. The narrator decides to use Fortuanto's liking for Italian wine against him, and lead him into the basement vaults. In "The Fall of the House of Usher," family is a very important theme. Roderick Usher writes a letter to his friend, the narrator, and asks him to come stay with him for a while. The narrator finds this odd because he hasn't talked to Roderick in many years. The narrator comes to the house, and it looks very creepy. Roderick is sick when the narrator gets there, so the narrator tries to be a good friend and does things like reads to Roderick.

Roderick's sister suddenly dies, and the narrator helps Roderick bury the body in a vault under the house because he is scared that doctors might dig up her body for scientific examination. Roderick begins flipping out, and hearing things, until he realizes that he buried Madeline alive! The characters Roderick Usher and Montressor are very similar because they are insane, possess evil qualities, and have guilty consciences.

In both of Poe's stories, Roderick and Montressor are practically proved insane. If the stories do not bluntly say they are insane, one can tap into some insane qualities they both possess. "The writer spoke of acute bodily illness --of a mental disorder which oppressed him --and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a...