• 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

    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. 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.

  1. Certain criteria to meet an effective horror story.

    This description allows the reader to compare him to someone else that they know and maybe appreciate the story better. The early horror stories were mainly based upon superstitions and the fear of the unknown. These superstitions were fabricated by man so as to give reason and meaning to things happening around them.

  2. Comparing the ways Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker convey horror through writing.

    This brief, initial introduction of superstition creates mystery in your head, and it makes you think, 'what if black cats are really witches in disguise.' When the cat imprint appears on the wall, the character tries to dismiss the supernatural happening with a far fetched logical explanation.

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

    Such as the 'enormous, flat' cat he imagines in house after the death of his first cat, and secondly the gallows appearing in the tuft of white hair on the second cat. The gallows are used as foreshadowing, maybe his death, or another death in his household or his impending capture.

  2. "The Fall of the House of Usher" - A Critical Analysis

    He tells Roderick that "the appearances...are merely...not uncommon" (Poe, 674). In the end, this fear finally overcomes him. Although he had been able to suppress his fears all along, Lady Madeline's reappearance runs him out of the house. The same type of "mental disorder" ties the three characters together.

  1. Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher".

    front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn"(Poe). This "fissure" is presented to the reader, early in the story, to represent that Roderick's love for his twin sister, Madeline, was dying, because she was suffering from a mysterious disease that baffled her doctors.

  2. In 'The fruit at the bottom of the bowl' by Ray Bradbury and 'The ...

    for madness but is not really madness '...and now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the scenes?' and '... if still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body...'.

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