Insanity In The Fall Of The House Of Usher

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Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” describes an unnamed narrator’s visit to his friend’s (Roderick Usher) house. Roderick, sick with “a morbid acuteness of the senses” (5), has requested that the narrator come to the House of Usher for company. As the narrator enters the house, he notices that the house possesses an “irredeemable gloom” (3). The narrator also spots Roderick’s female twin, Madeline, who suffers from catalepsy. After a short period of time, Madeline dies and Roderick buries her in the tombs underneath the house. One night, Roderick cannot sleep, so the narrator reads a story in order to calm Roderick down. As the narrator reads, he starts to hear the sounds from the story come to life. Roderick…show more content…
Madeline “wastes away” in the house because of her cataleptic condition. However, she seems to have accepted her fate as she soundlessly walks around the house; the narrator, although he escapes in the end, finds that the more he spends time with Roderick, the more he has to “resolve all into the mere inexplicable vagaries of madness” (10); the insanity affects Roderick the most, though. Similar to a madman, he starts to lose his normal manner and resorts to “[roaming] from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step” (10). Roderick’s insanity originates from his fears, which he reveals during a conversation with the narrator; he obsesses over his fear of death, the house, his sister, and ultimately fear itself. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” explores the theme of sanity and the effects it can have on people. Having many fears and choosing to not face them can result in the deterioration of people. In Roderick’s case, he spends much of his time feeling scared, so he becomes insane. Ironically, Roderick becomes “a victim to the terrors he anticipated” (15). The aspects of the story such as the house and his sister loom upon him with darkness because he cannot overcome his
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