• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the overtones of Gothic horror in Edgar Allen Poe's tale The Fall of the House of Usher

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the overtones of Gothic horror in Edgar Allen Poe's tale The Fall of the House of Usher The Gothic genre is an English genre that was most popular in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is characterised by an atmosphere of mystery and terror. In order for a novel or poem to be considered as gothic, it must include some of the vital ingredients of the gothic genre. These characteristics include- the use of the supernatural (ghosts/spirits etc), use of dark and vast imagery, the theme of revenge (notably, the dead seeking justice), and a sense of foreboding (giving a hint of what's to come later). "The Fall of the House of Usher", by Edgar Allen Poe, can be described as a Gothic novel in that it demonstrates many gothic characteristics, specifically in terms of setting and character. In gothic novels, the setting of a haunted house or castle is often used. It is usually an old, dark and decaying castle plagued by a curse. The motif of a haunted house is used prominently in the "The Fall of the House of Usher", and indeed the castle is the main setting of the story, and the centre of activity. ...read more.

Middle

Descriptions of the house's interior used when the narrator ventures into the house for the first time describes many secret passageways "sombre tapestries" and the " Black oaken floor". This frequent use of the colour black is also an obvious attribute to the gothic genre. Another favourite horror device of the gothic novel finds a person trapped, for example, being hidden away in a dark cell. This is evident in Poe's tale as Madeline is buried alive in a coffin- this is the ultimate entrapment. When talking of the coffin in which lady Madeleine was entombed in they describe it as "small, damp and entirely without means of admission for light; lying at great depth". This use of confinement helps to achieve an almost suffocating effect and is extremely effective in creating fear on the readers' part. Now I am going to discuss Poe's use of character in the tale, and examine how it adheres to the gothic genre. Characters in the gothic novel are often very strange and eccentric. This is evident throughout when the narrator describes Roderick's "Mad hilarity in his eyes" when Madeleine breaks from her tomb and his intricate song of imaginary things he seems to be in his own world and distances himself from the narrator and therefore the reader. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many examples- for example-As Roderick and Madeline are identical twins they obviously look very alike, they both suffer severe illnesses which affect there daily lives making them house bound this is interesting as they are spending so much time in the house the houses curse seems to affect them greatly even leading to their eventual death! The fact that lady Madeline and Roderick die at the same time could be caused by the fact the people believe that twins can feel what the other is feeling be that mentally or psychically. But there are many examples of them being opposites Roderick is male and Madeline is female she is strong he's weak this is interesting as it contradicts my original theory. REMEMBER QUOTES. In conclusion to Edgar Allen Poe's use of the typical traits of the gothic genre is rather obviously used in the fall of the house of usher. These overtones seem to add a sense of the unknown to the novel although gothic or horror novels are known for their predictability it is used effectively making the reader feel isolated from Roderick and Madeleine and closer to the narrator this is interesting as the reader actually knows more about the usher family than the narrator which usually causes the reader to support the person they know more about. Lauren McMillan GCSE English coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Edgar Allan Poe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Edgar Allan Poe essays

  1. Edgar Allan Poe 'Tell Tale Heart' and 'the fall of the house of Usher

    'A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine'. This description of how slow he moved his hands makes the reader wonder about his mental health and lends to the theory that he is maybe a schizophrenic with much paranoia and an extremely strong desire to kill.

  2. Themes of Edgar Allen Poe - comparing 'The Black Cat' and 'The Cask of ...

    Two of these names are Italian, from which are derived the words "fortunate" and "lucrative," while the third is of French origin. The most dry sherry produced by the mountains of Spain contrasts with the dank depths of Fortunato's tomb.

  1. With reference to Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher and ...

    At the end of the eighteenth century, England found itself in the midst of a social upheaval and it was out of this that the gothic genre emerged. The Gothic novel was invented almost single handledly by Horace Walpole, whose 1764 novel "The Castle of Otranto" contains essentially all the elements that constitute the genre.

  2. Throughout this essay I will be comparing and contrasting Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Black ...

    have taken place as he was more 'sane', but it in 'The Black Cat' he is less in control and the death of his wife was more spur of the moment. The murder in the cask was very much thought out and everything was planned to the last detail but

  1. Through the character Hagar Currie Shipley from the novel "The Stone Angel" by Margaret ...

    Hagar needs care because she has become a child. Hagar was never a child because her father made her grow up faster then her age. So as Hagar looks into her past at her childhood she sees a grown up child, so in her old age, she became the child she never was.

  2. Roderick Usher- a Gothicprotagonist?

    the steam of the Usher race, all time-honoured as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent..." One of the main issues of the story is the incestuous relationships which had taken

  1. Edgar Allan Poe 'Tell Tale Heart' and 'the fall of the house of Usher

    He uses sibilance, 'stealthily, stealthily', to describe the murderers actions as though they are cunning and silent like a snake. Then he uses emotive language to get the reader to sympathise with the old man, he 'pitied him', this shows the reader that there is maybe a good side to

  2. By comparing‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ with ‘Hop Frog’ discuss the ways in which the writersportray ...

    The narrator describes how he is 'like john and my brother, only more so', showing her wish not to be sent to him. John also keeps the narrator away from human contact, starving her of any stimulation or interaction. Despite his obvious love for her he treats her like a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work