The Fall of the House of Usher: Madeline as a Supernatural Entity

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  • Topic: Edgar Allan Poe, Gothic fiction, The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Pages : 3 (814 words )
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  • Published : September 23, 2007
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The Fall of the House of Usher
In September 1839, a man by the name of Edgar Allan Poe released his most popular and criticized short story, entitled "The Fall of the House of Usher". In Poe's gothic tale, Roderick Usher has invited the unnamed narrator, a distant childhood friend, to help alleviate his deteriorating house. Roderick and his sister, Madeline, have become ill, and his self-fulfilling prophecy of premature burial comes alive when Roderick's previously buried sister breaks out of the tomb to send into the abyss the unbranched lineage of the house of Usher. Poe once said that "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." Although some say that Madeline is a counterpart of Roderick, she is a manifestation of a supernatural entity set out to destroy the unnatural lineage by exploiting Roderick's one sided and intellectual state. The exploitation can be proven throughout the story through the comparison of the natural, supernatural, and mental aspects of "The Fall of the House of Usher".

The natural aspect is found in the essential qualities or characteristics by which something is recognized. The intuitively imaginative nature of Madeline allows her to be transcendental of Roderick's ability to reconcile with the socially unaccepted history of unbranched lineage. The narrator defines the nature of Roderick and Madeline, as well as introduces the theme of a look-alike, or evil twin as similarly expressed in Poe's "William Wilson" when he engages in premature burial of Madeline. The narrator says "A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention, and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed between them" (121). The "sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature" meaning Roderick is intelligent and Madeline is intuitively imaginative. Poe's...
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