The House of Usher

1141 Words5 Pages
Analyse how the theme of madness is implied and portrayed in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, focusing on one section of the story. Passage focus for analysis - ‘Upon my entrance, Usher arose…’ to ‘periods of his most intense excitement’, including other parts of the text. Madness is a clear theme throughout The Fall of the House of Usher, and could even be argued to be the main point of the story, as the narrator himself eventually falls victim to the insanity that consumes the household. In this extract, the focus is upon the character of Roderick Usher, his mental decline and the physical consequences. The narrator describes him as ‘lying at full length’ on a sofa, which gives the reader the image of a weak, diseased man, but Poe creates antithesis to this portrayal with the suggestion of his ‘vivacious warmth’. This connotes that Usher’s madness could actually be bipolar disorder, because of the constant conflict in his presence. Towards the end of the short story, it is revealed the narrator has been driven mad by the events that have occurred, and this is foreshadowed by ‘Surely, man had never been so terribly altered, in so brief a period…’ in the passage. It depicts irony, because although Usher might have been transformed in a small amount of time, it takes the narrator mere weeks to fall into a state of delusion. Much emphasis is placed upon Usher’s physical appearance as an indication of his declining mental state, and with lexical choices such as ‘wild’ and ‘tenuity’ being reflective of his inconsistent behaviour. It could be argued that his madness is due to the place where he resides, as the mansion is rapidly dilapidating, mirroring Usher himself. The fact that both of the subjects are mentioned to have eyes suggests there is a link between them. In the beginning of the story, the narrator portrays the house as having
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