What kind of effect does Edgar Allan Poe aim for in his short story „The Fall of the House of Usher“= What matters does he use to achieve it (incl. Tone, setting, characters, con?ict & plot etc. ) Edgar Allan Poe was the ?rst writer to put the Gothic authors predilection for old and ancient nobilities and buildings in a direct causal relationship with the people. The ‘House’ Usher says both the gender of the Ushers as well as its headquarters building. Does one go down, so does the other.
Poe sets up a sense of the “double” or the ironic reversal when he has the narrator ?rst see the House of Usher as it is re?ected in the tarn, which surrounds it. In fact, the greatness of this story lies more in the unity of design and the unity of atmosphere than it does in the plot itself. In terms of what plot there is, it is set somewhere in the past, and we ?nd out that the narrator and Roderick Usher have been friends and schoolmates previous to the story’s beginning. At the end of the story, the House of Usher will literally fall into the big black tarn and be swallowed up by it.
The narrator tells twice that the windows of the house are “eyelike” and that the inside of the house has become a living “body” while the outside has become covered with moss and is decaying rapidly. Furthermore, the ultimate Fall of the House is caused by an almost invisible crack in the structure, but a crack which the narrator notices; symbolically, this is a key image. Also central to this story is the fact, that Roderick and the Lady Madeline are twins. This suggests that when he buries her, he will widen the crack between them.
This crack, or division, between the living and the dead will be so critical that it will culminate ultimately in the Fall of the House of Usher. When Roderick and Madeline die, ?nally, the building begins to sway, probably because the lake is now breaking into the catacombs. Philip hastily took to his heels, when he sees that the crack in the structure of the house spread quickly. He narrowly escapes down the causeway, during the whole rotten, house ‘sinks into the depths of the tarn. Within the narrative forms a poem of six stanzas called “The Haunted Palace”, which is an extension of the layers of meaning.
The palace is in the land of the king “thought” and is initially beautifully. But in the form of “sorrow ” ?erce people captured the ruler’s residence and all the beauty and splendor disappears to make room for bizarre visions of evil. From a friendly smile at the beginning it became a delusional laugh at the end. The question is, why the last two members of the family of Usher have to die. This is the central question that must be answered at any reader or listener for themselves. Both feel the burden of the many generations, which they can see directly before them every day, with a simple visit to the crypt.
Madeline says, that both of them, brother and sister, were familiar with death since their childhood. Death didn?t have anything terrible for them, that can be no reason. 1/2 It may also not be the curse that they have incurred perhaps through generations of inbreeding. Because they never have committed incest, even though both appreciate each other a lot. Madeline ?s legacy is an increasing frailty – a common motif in Poe?s literature – and recurrent tetanus and by Roderick’s an exaggerated re?nement of his senses. This “family illness” bred that he has practically buried himself alive, so that he has not to suffer anymore.
Joy of life means to him agony. In a very real sense, the house is thus a giant cof?n. Therefore, it is only a consequence of his folly to implement this plan into action: He buried Madeline, after one of their seizures, in her prepared cof?n. But Roderick with his super hearing can hear her sustained, slightly breath. However, he closes the cof?n lid and waits until his sister resurrects. So, the crime of involuntary manslaughter is added to the original sin of incest. “This family must cease to exist,” he reiterated again and again.
It resembles the knight Everett in the novel, that Philip reads. The knight must slay a dragon in front of a golden palace, probably to save a virgin. The dragon is a symbol for the generations of ancestors, and the Golden Palace is redemption through the death – or the innocence that comes with penance. It should be obvious who is the virgin: Madeline. Even if she appears like a fury that has more resemblance to a dragon when she stands next to Roderick?s doorsill. But this is just the outward appearance. Poe is fond of the motif of apparent death and being-buried-alive.
In almost the same manner he fancies the subject of the return from the land of the dead. But both motives were rarely interconnected such stylistically brilliant and dramatically effective as in this classic tale. It is also a plea for relief from the burden of generations, especially of incestuous generations. In this message it coincides with the story of America’s ideology: Exemption from the contaminated sites in Europe with its decadent monarchies and dynasties and embarking on a new world. Therefore, Philip, the initially con?dent outsiders, necessarily escapes instead being carried away down into the tarn.