Character Analysis: The Fall Of The House Of Usher Essay, Research Paper
In Edgar Allan Poe?s, ?The Fall of the House of Usher,? the three characters are the unknown
narrator, the narrators old time friend Roderick Usher, and Roderick?s sister Madeline Usher.
The three characters are unique people with distinct characteristics,but they are tied together by
the same type of ?mental disorder?. They all suffer from insanity but they each respond to it
differently. Roderick and his sister seem to have a spiritual attatchment, and the narrator begins
to get sucked into it.
The narrator is called for help by his old time friend Roderick Usher. There is a split
feeling in the narrator?s mind between the rational and the supernatural. When he first arrives to
the house, he sees a face in the tarn, a split crack in the house and the double image of his own
face on the image of the house. Unlike Roderick, the narrator appears to be a man of common
sense. He seems to have a good heart in that he comes to help a friend from his boyhood. Being
educated and analytical, he observes that his friend Roderick has a mental disorder. The narrator
tries to find scientific explanations for what Roderick senses, but when he can?t find one, he
criticizes Roderick for his fantasies, and claims that Roderick is ?enchained by certain
superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenated?. The narrator tries his
hardest to help but he can?t because he doesn?t understand what is going on. The more he gets
involved, the closer he gets to being part of Roderick?s hysteria: ?Rationally Usher?s condition
terrified, it infected me….I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet uncertain degrees, the wild
influence of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions.? As time went by Roderick?s
condition worsened and so did the narrators. When Roderick finally discovers that he
prematurely buried his sister Madeline, his condition reaches it?s peak , destroys him mentally,
and causes the narrator to leave the house in absolute terror.
Roderick Usher, the head of the house, is and educated man. He comes from a wealty
family and owns a huge house. He seemed to have once been an attractive man in the way the
narrator described him to be. However, his appearance deteriorated over time. When the
narrator finally saw Roderick, his appearance had completely altered. The narrator notes various
symptoms of insanity from Roderick?s behavior: ?in the manner of my friend I was struck with
an incoherence and inconsitency…habitual trepidancy, and excessive nervous agitation…His
action was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous
indecision…to that….of a lost drunkard, or the erreclaimable eater of opium?. Roderick?s state
worsens throughout the story. He becomes increasingly restless and unstable, especially after the
burial of his sister.
Lady Madeline, twin sister of Roderick Usher, does not speack one word throughout the
story. When the narrator arrives to the House of Usher, she goes to her bed and goes into a dead
like coma state. The narrator helps bury her and put her away in a vault, but when she reappears,
he leaves the house. Lady Madeline seemed to be portrayed as the ghost of the house in the way
that she ?passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment, and without haveing noticed
his presence, disappeared?. Before the narrator had even arrived to the House of Usher, Lady
Madeline appeared to be completely overcome by mental disorder.
The three characters are shown to slowly adapt the same mental disease. They all seem
to suffer some degree of insantiy. Lady Madeline seems to accept the fact that she is insane and
continues her life with that knowledge. Roderick Usher appears to realize his mental state and
struggles very hard to hold on to his sanity. The narrator, who is slowly but surely contracting the
disease, wants to deny what he sees, hears, and senses. He, in the end, escapes from the illness
because he leaves the house.