September 20, 2011
Vampirism in “The Fall of the House of Usher”
The theme of vampirism occurs several times throughout “The Fall of the House of Usher” written by Edgar Allen Poe. He shows this theme through many actions of the characters and his use of diction. The three main paths of discovering the vampire theme is to closely examine three important instruments within the story. The three instruments used include Roderick Usher, Madeline Usher, and the House that the two live in.
Roderick Usher is used by Poe to demonstrate the vampire theme in two ways. In the launch of the short story, Roderick is described with both physical and mental strangeness. His physical being is characterized as “terribly altered” (152), having a Hebrew nose, and with a ghoulish color of skin. These descriptions do not give an array of a normal human being. Edgar Allen Poe even writes that the narrator “couldn’t connect it’s arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity” (152). There is obviously something wrong with Roderick physically to where he did not look like a human. These physical alterations are symbolisms for a vampire figure. Hebrew noses are known to be rather large and pointed downward, giving us the imagery of Dracula, a widely known vampire, who is described as ghoulish looking and with a long, pointed nose. This facial feature, along with the pale albino-like skin color can give us the mental image of a vampire. Although Roderick’s physical features are important examples of the vampire theme, his mental unstableness is of more importance to this theme. His thoughts and views of things that happen make the idea of vampirism more evident. Roderick mentions that there is an extreme sense of terror and superstition apparent in the house, in the events that were happening, and in ones soon to happen. He is filled with hysteria along with nervous agitation and a mental disorder. When Roderick mentions...