The ancient, decaying House of Usher, filled with gloomy furniture of the room-of the dark and tattered draperies, which, tortured into motion by the breath of a rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the decorations of the bed, (pg. 406) and set in a dull atmosphere is Roderick and Madeline Usher. Besides its regard of Gothic imagery and horrendous events, the story has a psychological component and symbolism between the house and Roderick Usher.
The story resides in a place of insufferable gloom that sickened the heart and ate away at the soul. This story evokes a feeling of dispirited and dread, along with a dreary environment. The madness of Roderick and Madeline Usher, the progressive deterioration of the house, and the mortifying realization that the power of intense fear. As the narrator approaches the house of Usher, he experiences a sense of dreary among him, which then makes him dread being in such an adverse place. The dreariness of the house increases the unstable mental illness of the already ill Roderick. The narrator himself begins to pace around from the agony from his surroundings.
The narrator in The Fall of the House of Usher was the friend of the main characters Roderick Usher. Roderick lived with his sister in the house and both suffered from mental illness that had ultimately led to their deaths. The house was not actually haunted, but there was a permanent sense of decay about the house that continued up to both of the Ushers. With their mental illnesses, and Madeline Ushers ability to withdraw into a reserved state that would make anyone aware of her condition concluded that the person had died. The setting of the story was the house, which was always described in a way of dark and gloomy. The houses front wall as the narrator describes, resembles a giant face or skull. Roderick’s large and luminous eyes are a mirror image of the houses eye-like windows. The Usher House seems so old and fragile that its instability will cause it to collapse. The walls that cover the Usher House seem to be in decay. Roderick’s soft and web-like hair resembles the houses cob webs that hangs on the front walls. The physical deterioration of the house symbolized the physical deterioration of Roderick and Madeline Usher. Roderick’s artistic creations have a bold fitting with what happens in the Usher House.
Intense fear can cause greater anxiety in a person that will derive them to do irrational things and lose contact with insanity. Roderick Usher believes that the house of Usher dictated his fate and is always conspiring against him. Usher sees what the house is doing to his sister and what he believes it is doing to him, which fills him with great anxiety and despair. Usher becomes agitated, that when Madeline becomes catatonic, he tells the narrator that she has expired and seals her alive inside of a vault in the house. Obviously no sane person would so such a thing to a sibling whom he loves, but nevertheless, the combination of intense fear and an unstable mind lead Roderick to do the terrible deed.
The depreciation of both the physical house of Usher and the people of the Usher House is what the story is really all about. As the physical house of Usher crumbles, so do the family members. The house, as well as Roderick and Madeline, still manage to survive, even though they are wearing away inside like the desolate stones that comprise the house’s structure. As we see Roderick crumbling, we sense that an subsequent doom is deceasing upon the entire household, inspiring a feeling of despair. The disturbed characters, and the dreary setting are a realization of how fear can drive one insane.
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