Foreshadowing in “The Fall of the House of Usher”
In “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Edgar Allen Poe uses foreshadowing to entice the readers and to hint at future events that may occur later on in the story. An example in the story in which Poe uses the setting, particularly the “melancholy House of Usher”, to foreshadow the story’s outcome can be found in the final paragraph on page 63. In this paragraph, the narrator expresses his anxiety as he approaches the eerie, crumbling, and unsettling mansion. His description of “the crumbling condition of the individual stones” foreshadows the eventual downfall of the Usher family. The fact that the house is decaying also foreshadows the deterioration of Roderick Usher’s mind as he battles his terrible illness. An “old woodwork which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault” that is described in this paragraph also foreshadows the burial of Madeline in an old, neglected vault.
The “barely perceptible fissure”, which extends from the roof of the building to the “sullen waters of the tarn”, is yet another feature of the house that foreshadows the final outcome of the story. The fissure foreshadows the horrible fate and the final collapse of the “House of Usher”- which represents both the family mansion and the long standing Usher family lineage. As expected, the “House of Usher” is indeed destroyed at the end of the story. In the final paragraph, the same “discernible fissure” widens, causing the house to collapse and fall into the “deep and dark tarn” in front of the house. The collapse of the house indicates the deaths of Roderick and Madeline, and more significantly, the end of the Usher family.
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