The Fall Of the House Of Usher is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1839. The short story is complexly written, with challenging themes such as identity and fear. Poe utilises many elements of the Gothic Tradition such as setting and supernatural elements to create a more mysterious story, and uses language to his advantage, employing adjective filled descriptions of literal elements that also serve as metaphors for other parts of the story.
In The Fall Of The House of Usher, Poe explores challenging themes, the most prominent of which is the theme of identity. Throughout the story, the narrator tells us of his experiences with what is left of the Usher family at their estate. The theme of identity is clearly stated right at
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When the narrator first enters Roderick Usher’s study, it is described thusly “Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes… Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered.” Throughout the story, the reader can sense that the narrator is never quite comfortable in the estate, and eventually begins to mirror Roderick’s “superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted”. Superstitious elements are another popular part of gothic literature, and Poe clearly utilises the supernatural in The Fall Of The House Of Usher. An excellent example of this is the character of the Lady Madeline. The first time the narrator sees her, he is being told of her decease. “While he spoke, the lady Madeline… passed through a remote portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared.” The way that the narrator describes her is as if she is a ghost, suddenly appearing without care to notice her surroundings, and vanishing with no further movement. This may be foreshadowing to her ghastly appearance after being buried alive for days, as if newly raised from the dead. We do not see her alive again in the story until this event, thus increasing her likeness to a ghost. Adding to the mystery around Madeline, she is a medical anomaly. “The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians.” This