Essay Example on The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Published: 2022-02-21
Essay Example on The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Edgar Allan Poe
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2077 words
18 min read

"The Fall of the House of Usher," by Edgar Allan Poe gives a centre stage to the transcendental philosophy. Its flow is coupled with dark overtones and finer details that invoke the imagination of every reader into a nightmare characterized by transformation and death. The opening lines set a transformational tone and attitude by arguing the story based on the autumn of the year. The period (autumn) is usually seen as the change and transitional moment between summer and winter. In the text, we can opine summer as the period of life and winter that of death. "The Fall of the House of Usher," takes a state of a catatonic decomposition that descends on a downhill transformation from the point of life to that of death. The entry of the narrator is also at the final stages when the story is almost ending and unwillingly making a significant contribution in the final moments of Usher. The thesis is, therefore, based on the analysis of, "The Fall of the House of Usher." Other details are on the themes and the various literary elements that Edgar Allan Poe used in developing or rather constructing the literary piece. As a way of validating the thesis, the paper will begin by a brief summary of the text and explore themes on mortality, fear, madness, incest, friendship, burial, and the arts. There will also be a discussion of the various literary devices that builds the themes. For example, the metaphors, symbolism, foreshadowing, dramatic irony, and simile to mention but a few.

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Edgar Allan Poe opines the story of a sick person whose fear manifest based on his unique family estate. The author explores both the mental and the physical disability and the effects associated with the afflictions particularly to the people who are closer to the sick. Different interpretations can be provided to aid in the understanding of the story, but the major issue is on the madness of the protagonist. The question is whether he is really mad? Many literary scholars who believed in the works of Edgar Allan Poe tend to construe the madness as inexistent or even the actual cause of the true supernatural events. The protagonist is actually not crazy, it is his house that is haunted, and the sister is back from the land of the dead. The other interpretation can be noted on the madness being a stylistic feature. It can be imagery. The summary given contributes to the thesis since it offers brief details pertaining to the entire events given in the story. It is coupled with various interpretive elements within the literary domain. Such included the metaphoric use of the madness of the protagonist.

The themes as noted in the introductory paragraph also makes a significant contribution to the development of the thesis as will be noted herein. The first thematic issue is noted on mortality. The entire of Edgar Allan Poe's tale revolves a woman who passes on, buried, and later comes from the grave. The question that comes to mind is on whether the woman really died. The rising from the dead makes Usher scream that the living had been placed on a tomb, something that features the author as a person who was obsessed with premature burial. What remains unclear is on the extent to which the supernatural may be made to account for particular strangeness within a literary text. It may be true that the Madeline may have actually died and later rose from the dead, not as a human now, but a vampire hence qualifying the vampiric qualities which were anchored by Usher. It could also be true that she may have been mistaken to be dead was lucky enough to come from the tomb on time before it was permanently sealed. The arguments, however, correct or wrong illustrates the line between life and death as a clear issue in most of Poe's fictions. The study of Usher pertaining to the sentience of all the vegetables equally fits partly with the preoccupations of Edgar Allan Poe. The theme has equally been coupled with various literary styles that build on the thesis. For example, the aspect of personification comes into context when Madeline is noted to have resurrected. In the event we share in the thoughts of her dying and resurrecting, the same way Usher believed, then it means that the author gave her supernatural powers which enabled her to resurrect from the dead and come back to live amongst the living as a vampire. In the event we interpret the death of Madeline as an issue which was mistaken, then it means premature burial is an obsession of the author, something which has been noted in most of his literary pieces. This illustration connotes some of the ironies that may couple little pieces especially when the author is fixed on certain opinions or literary styles. It also ironical for a person to die and later resurrect from the grave to stay with the living.

The theme of madness also builds on the thesis by portraying the manner in which the author gives information about Usher pertaining to his entry to the perceived into what was conceived to be the nature of his melody. Usher at first looked uncertain, something which appeared contradictory to his description. The narrator also notes some essence of inconsistency and incoherence on the issues presented by his old friend though little information was later offered to provide scientific backing. The result is noted to opine the line between insanity and sanity as blurred thus paving way for the narrator's personal descend to madness. The theme is equally supported by different literary styles, for example, the most dominant in this case is on irony. The description of Usher as uncertain and contradictory is what looks ironical because we expected him to be straight in his thoughts.

The next theme is noted on fear where we try to assess the illness of Usher. It is possible that we can offer him a diagnosis of acute anxiety. It is also possible that what terrified Roderick Usher was based on fear. To some extent, Edgar Allan Poe wrote of an anomalous species of terror. Usher also attempts to give an explanation to the narrator that he had dreaded the events that were to happen in the future. The fear is mainly brought about by Usher's superstitions. Usher finds it difficult to sleep for several nights after putting Madeline in the tomb and he also feels nervous. This connotes the fear that is within him will kill him. The use of irony to denote the state of Usher's condition during this time is amicable. He hears a raging storm yet in the quiet interlude he can hear the spooky sound coming from the mansion. The protagonist is afraid of his own death and it is seen in reality since his fear is worse than what he actually fears. When the windows are widely opened and the raging gusts of wind gush into the room this instils fear in Usher as he sees a glowing gaseous cloud encircling the mansion. Therefore Usher opines that his anxiety conjures Madeline or that she is a manifestation of his in-depth neuroses.

Incest is another theme noted in the narration. The relationship between the brother and sister seemed to be incestuous. They stayed in the same home together without their significant others or spouses. They both wasted away for a number of years in the dark rooms found within the building. The narrator implicated that incest had become a norm to the great family of Usher as he denotes that their entire family lay in the same line of descent. He uses the literary style of symbolism as he compares usher's family to an enduring branch. This shows that the family has gone through a lot to maintain the norm of its existence. The strange illnesses that Roderick and Madeline have may have been derived from their inbred genes. The bond between the brother and sister is expressed to be an intense and inexplicable one and it's possible that is a supernatural one. This bond even transcends beyond death as one cannot live without the other sibling. Therefore, it can be interpreted that they are one person split into two.

In addition, friendship is another theme as illustrated in the introductory paragraph. The narrator goes to visit his friend when he arrives at Usher's house. They were childhood friends even though their relationship is not fully elaborated in the story. The closeness of the two is seen when Usher writes to the narrator and impels him to provide his company during his hard time. Usher was experiencing distress and is in dire need of a friend to help him through a tough time. When he visits, he notes the changes in him from the last time they were together. He engages in a discussion with the narrator and confides in him about his illness and it is a hereditary one. Friendship is seen as one cannot confide in strangers but people who are familiar to them. However, the friendship of the two takes a toll when Usher and Madeline are reunited back together. The narrator is thence cast off into the raging storm on his own. Therefore, it is ironical since he comes to give his friend company yet winds up on his own.

Burial is another crucial theme in the narration. First and foremost there are three images that seem to appear to be tombs in The Fall of the House of Usher. Madeline and Usher are wasting away in this house which does not see the light of day. Its rooms are caverns and they have been converted into spacious vaults for the siblings who seem to not be alive. Secondly, the painting done by Usher of a tunnel that seems to be gigantic proves to be foreshadowing the third tomb. However, the tomb is the real one that acted as Madeline's burial place temporarily. The writer, therefore, represents tombs within tombs in the story. Therefore, it symbolizes that the world is a form of a crypt on its own. This is seen in the illustration of when the house of Usher submerges into the new grave that is seen to be below the tarn. The writer is obsessed with premature burial as he expounds on the death of Madeline as not being fully dead since Usher opines that she was buried while still alive. The question lingers in his mind on whether she died in the real sense or whether she has resurrected proving him to be superstitious.

The theme of arts is extensively explored in the narration. The family of Usher was mainly famous for their undying devotion for art, music and literature. Usher is a skilled painter and is also skilled in music. The third tomb is illustrated in a painting that is vividly crafted with a gigantic tomb which is a representation of Madeline's burial tomb. The narrator describes this painting to portray a tomb and it was ironical that everything was buried and destroyed when the House of Usher collapses. This art, therefore, seemed to have failed Usher. The narrator is terrified of the phantasmagorical concepts in the painting done by Usher and the one don by an artist by the name Fuseli. Usher produces artistic materials that are able to last in time beyond him as he is transfixed in time and is obsessed with his own death which terrifies him. They are therefore a sign of immortality as they outlive time according to Usher Roderick. The artistic paintings brought beauty in the darkroom together with beauty amid usher's anxieties that were induced by fear.


In summary, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' is a masterpiece of art that expound the various gothic themes and literary devices in expounding the narration. Its flow is coupled with dark overtones and finer details that invoke the imagination of every reader into a nightmare characterized by transformation and death. The theme of mortality is seen when Madeline dies is buried in a tomb and later comes back to life or was she even dead in the first place. Madness is construed by the thin line between insanity and sanity was blurred thus paving way for the narrator's personal descend to his madness. Incest is seen in how the two siblings live together in the same house without spou...

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