Poe: The Fall of the house of Usher

Essay by yellowraven October 2002

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Death Conquers All:

The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allen Poe

In his short story "The Fall of the House of Usher", Edgar Allen Poe presents an elaborated plot filled with a prophetic sense of destruction. Poe uses several literary devices, among the most prevalent, such as his unhealthy mental imagery and a parallelism that is so strange as it inspires a feeling of fear.

In "The Fall of the House of Usher" Poe introduces the reader to three characters; Lady Madeline, Roderick Usher, and the narrator, whose name is never given. The three characters are unique people with different characteristics, but they all eventually suffer from the same mental disorder. All of them suffer from insanity, yet each responds differently. Madeline seems to accept the fact that she is insane and continues through life with that knowledge. Roderick seems to realize his mental state and makes every effort to hold on his sanity.

And the narrator who is slowly but surely contracting the disease, wants to deny what he sees, hears, and senses. In the end he regains his senses but only because he flees from the house.

Poe' s writings are known for their macabre subject matter. In "The Fall of the House of Usher", Poe uses the life-like characteristics of an otherwise decaying house as a device for giving the house a supernatural atmosphere. From the beginning of the story the narrator claims to have sensed something unusual and supernatural about the house. After he sees the inside of the house the narrator has a heightened superstition, though he tries to view everything he sees rationally. He observes the home and sees fungi growing all over it and

the decaying masonry "there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of...