The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allen Poe

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Comment closely on the opening of "the Fall of the House of Usher", paying particular attention to the Gothic elements of the text.

        Poe is known for his gothic type stories written in the nineteenth century.  Amongst the many of his works came "The Fall of the House of Usher". From begining to end, the story is showered with gothic effect, structure wise and in the context of the story itself.

One of the larger aspects of the gothic feature in this particular story is the realisation that one of the main characters in this story is haunted by a mental illness. The narrator recieves a letter from Roderick Usher claiming "of a mental disorder which opressed him". This fact is one of the first we discover about Usher and this causes a sense of mystery due to the lack if information we have on Usher's personality. Peter Schaffer's play 'Equus', is presented in the same way, with as little information on one of the lead characters 'Alan Strang' and just the knowledge that he is mentally disturbed causing a similar effect as to the one Poe imposes on the reader. Furthermore, this makes the idea of his mental illness somehow significant in it's presentation to us and perhaps outlines that it will be an important asset to the story.

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A further sense of suspicion is raised when the reader discovers it had been multiple years since the narrator and Usher had seen or even spoken to one another due to the fact that they are supposedly best friends. "but many years had elapsed since our last meeting". A sense of oddness would describe such a strange incident. If the narrator was his only best friend, then the question of 'why has it been so long since they last spoke?" comes up. The unanswered question only elaborates the reason as to why this point further presents gothic features in the ...

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