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Fall Of The "House" Essay

1571 words - 6 pages

“I must perish in this deplorable folly” (Poe par. 11). With this statement, Roderick Usher seems to be both accepting and sealing his fate. The “House of Usher” was once a mighty and well-respected family, but it has now dwindled down into almost nonexistence. Twins Roderick and Madeline are all that survive of this once proud race. A summons from Roderick to the unknown narrator of this story, a childhood friend of Roderick, sets the events in motion. He speaks of an illness and mental disorder which has become a great burden on him, and he wishes for the company of his dearest friend to help comfort and give “some alleviation of his malady” (Poe par. 2). As the narrator arrives at the family mansion, he is struck by the aura of “gloom” of which the house is surrounded by. He is then ushered into Roderick’s study where he first sets eyes on the cruel sight of what his childhood friend has become. He describes the once young and vital appearance of Roderick now like that of a “lost drunkard… [an] irreclaimable eater of opium” (Poe par. 9) and even doubts who he is truly speaking to briefly due to such a drastic physical difference. The two begin to fill their time with activities together such as reading, painting, and even composing music. Days of this pass until, suddenly, Roderick informs the narrator that his twin sister had finally been taken by the illness that plagued her for some time and asks his assistance in the entombment of her body in the lower vault of the mansion until a proper burial could be preformed. As days pass, following the entombment of Madeline, Roderick’s mental stability begins to deteriorate as he begins to roam around the rooms of the mansion listening to what the narrator describes as “some imaginary sound.” Around the seventh or eighth night after Madeline being placed in the dungeon, a storm of “impetuous fury” engulfs the mansion as Roderick’s psyche finally shatters. The narrator tries to calm his friend by reading him one of his favorite novels, but as he reads, the sounds described in the book seem to be heard coming from within Madeline’s tomb, signs of her desperate effort to escape. Roderick begins shouting that he had first heard the movements of his living sister still trapped in the coffin many days ago, but he “dared not speak.” The bloody and starved Madeline reaches them at the same time that Roderick reaches the pinnacle of his madness, screaming “as if in the effort he were giving up his soul.” She lunges towards her brother with her last ounce of life, taking his along with her. As the narrator escapes the mansion, he turns to see the ancient household split, crumble upon itself, and bury the last remnants of the “House” of “Usher” (Poe). The death of Roderick and Madeline marks that of the end of the Usher lineage. The “House of Usher” had become synonymous, to the surrounding villagers, with both the family and of the mansion itself. Through generation upon countless generation of Ushers living...

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