Free The Fall Of The House Of Usher – Riderick Usher’s Mental Illness Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: House, Literature, Medicine, Health, Psychology, Disease, Fall, Illness

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/13

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This paper gives an overview of the illness of Roderick Usher and argues that Roderick Usher in The Fall of the House of Usher did have numerous psychological issues. This paper also looks deep into the signs and symptoms of Roderick Usher’s illness and makes an argument that Roderick’s craziness isn’t just something the narrator has made up in his mind. The main argument for this to be true is that there are many signs that point towards mental illness of Roderick Usher that show that he is suffering from psychological complexities.

Summary and Introduction

An anonymous storyteller approaches the place of Usher on a "dull, dim, and soundless day." This house—the home of his childhood companion, Roderick Usher—is melancholy and complex. The narrator watches that the house appears to have ingested a detestable and ailing climate from the rotting trees and dinky lakes around it. He noticed that the house is rotting in spots individual stones are crumbling, for instance the structure itself is genuinely strong. There is just a little split from the top to the ground in the front of the building. He has arrived at the house on the grounds that his companion Roderick sent him a letter truly asking for his organization. Roderick composed that he was feeling physically and candidly sick, so the narrator is hurrying to his help. The Poe specifies that the Usher family, however an old faction, has never prospered. Stand out individual from the Usher family has made due from era to era, consequently structuring a direct line of plunge with no outside extensions. The Usher family has gotten to be so related to its home that the working class mistakes the tenants for their home (Linnarz).
Other than having an interest for the bizarre and the otherworldly, Poe was likewise intrigued by the idea of the twofold, the schizophrenic, the unexpected, and the opposite. He researched this wonder in a few stories, including "William Wilson" (a story which is examined in this volume), thus it is imperative to note that there is an exceptional significance connected to the way that Roderick Usher and the Lady Madeline are twins. Poe is making in this story his origination of an exceptional liking between a sibling and his twin sister; it is pretty much as though Poe were "creating" ESP, for this records for the way that Roderick Usher has heard the covered Lady Madeline battling with her casket and her chains for more than three days prior to the narrator hears her (Liberto). Lamentably, advanced pursuer has a tendency to be a bit fatigued by the numerous gothic impacts. ESP, for instance, is fairly old cap today as a gothic gadget, however in Poe's opportunity, it was as unnerving and puzzling as UFOs are today.
"The Fall of the House of Usher" embodies impeccably Poe's rule of piece that expresses everything in the story that must add to a solitary bound together impact. Late in the story, Roderick Usher says: "I feel that the period will sometime arrive when I must desert life and reason together, in some battle with the bleak ghost, FEAR." Clearly, Poe has picked the "dismal apparition, FEAR" for his prime impact to be accomplished in this story. Subsequently, every expression, each picture, and each portrayal in the story is picked considering the focal thought of making a feeling of miserable fear and apprehension inside both the narrator and the pursuer. From the opening passages, foreboding and premonition as they may be, to the presentation of the over-touchy, pitifully slight and fragile Roderick Usher, to the frightful conclusion with the presence of the living carcass, the greater part of Poe's subtle elements join to make the tension going hand in hand with that "inauspicious ghost, FEAR."
Despite the fact that Poe keeps up that he didn't favor of images or purposeful anecdote, this specific story has been, as proposed above, subjected to numerous and shifted sorts of figurative or typical elucidations. Fundamentally, the story still capacities as an incredible story on the extremely fundamental level of the gothic frightfulness story, in which the component of apprehension is evoked in its most astounding structure (Smith).

Roderick’s Craziness

In the opinion of narrator, Roderick has hypochondria which were seemed to be correct and accurate. It is identified that Usher is really crazy while the narrator was not wrong in thinking that Roderick is not mentally stable. The narrator was concerned about the acute bodily illness of a mental disorder with a view of attempting by the society cheerfulness. It is recognized that narrator has learned the intervals through equivocal and broken hints of Usher mental condition. He was concerned about the physical explanation which shows that he was forced to fall back on the unsatisfactory conclusion that there were combinations of simple natural objects which influence them among considerations beyond the depth. According to Rodriguez (2013), the narrator introduces himself with the supernatural possibility causes with the intention to use the term super-institutions. It is identified that narrators uses the leaves from the conventional with reference to Roderick whereas Poe does not refer to the superstitious beliefs but refer to the superstitious impressions. Narrator has explained about the Roderick about how their fear feeds on itself in order to see the terror story as subjectively or imaginary produced as the psychological explanation for terror and gothic mystery.


Hypochondria or Hypochondriasis which is also referred as health anxiety or health phobia or illness anxiety disorder is about to have a serious illness. This incapacitating condition is the consequence of an off base view of the state of body or psyche in spite of the nonattendance of a real restorative condition. An individual experiencing hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Depressed people get to be unduly frightened about any physical or mental indications they distinguish, regardless of how minor the manifestation may be, and are persuaded that they have, or are going to be diagnosed with, a genuine disease (Atkinson, 2013). Frequently, anxiety holds on even after a doctor has assessed a man and consoled them that their worries about indications don't have a fundamental medicinal premise or, if there is a therapeutic disease, their worries are far in abundance of what is fitting for the level of infection. Numerous masochists concentrate on a specific manifestation as the impetus of their stressing, for example, gastro-intestinal issues, palpitations, or muscle exhaustion. To meet all requirements for the analysis of depression the side effects must have been experienced for no less than 6 months. Often, Hypochondria is described by apprehensions that minor substantial or mental indications may demonstrate a genuine disease, consistent examination toward oneself and judgment toward oneself, and a distraction with one's body. Numerous people with hypochondriasis express uncertainty and skepticism in the specialists' analysis, and report that specialists' consolation about an unlucky deficiency of a genuine therapeutic condition is unconvincing, or short-enduring. Moreover, numerous despondent people experience hoisted pulse, push, and tension in the vicinity of specialists or while involving a restorative office, a condition known as "white cover disorder". In accordance of Atkinson (2013), numerous depressed people oblige steady consolation, either from specialists, family, or companions, and the issue can turn into a debilitating torment for the single person with hypochondriasis, and also his or her family and friends. Some hypochondriacal people totally evade any indication of disease, while others every now and again visit restorative offices, here and there fanatically. Different despondent people will never talk about their dread, persuaded that their trepidation of having a genuine ailment won't be considered important by those in whom they trust. Negative consequences of indicative examinations do little to diminishing a patient’s nervousness about his or her health, and he or she keeps on seeking restorative consideration. Masochists regularly oblige consistent consolation, at times from different specialists, friends and family (Atkinson, 2013).
In accordance of Cook (2012), Roderick is convinced of the interdependence or the identity therefore, the narrator believes that she cannot die whereas she is alive. According to Poe, it suggests the supernatural explanation happens at the House of Usher in order to transform into the vampire lore into the House representation as a system of force. It also observes the classic gothic distinction among the supernatural, natural and psychological. Mainly, it seems that Roderick is trapped in his haunted, supernatural house which also contributes to his illness due to which it seems that it plays with his mind too. Roderick does not ventures into the world but always stay in his house with full of his own fears. According to the narrator, the final scene proves that Roderick is completely mad as he is incapable to live without Madeline. He was familiar that she has catalepsy and slips into comas. This may seems an attempted suicide as he cannot live without her and attempted to rush her death.


Here, it is important to not that whatever we know of Roderick comes from what we have heard from the narrator. The narrator is the observer of all the doings of Roderick. Seeing the inconsistency in thoughts and emotions of the narrator, it is very much possible that Roderick is not as insane as the narrator portrays him to be. It can be argued that maybe Roderick is not ill and it is the narrator who is not mentally well and his view of reality has been altered. There is a huge split in the mind o fnarator about the supernatural phenomena and those that are the rational one. The narrator seems to be confused between the two. He sees a split fissure in the house, a face in the tanr, and his own face “s uperimposed on the death's head image of the house”. This is one of the biggest reasons about why the one finds it hard to trust the narrator’s view of Roderick and his mental and psychological illness (Müller). Furthermore, the narrator also admits to share Usher’s hysteria:
"Rationally Usher's condition terrified, it infected me I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet uncertain degrees, the wild influence of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions." (Poe)
However, it would be unfair to put all the burden of insanity on the shoulders of the narrator and deem Roderick’s illness as a figment in the imagination of the narrator. In my opinion, it would be better to trust the narrator’s telling of the story instead of considering his observations regarding Roderick to be false and a figment of his own imagination. Unlike Roderick, the narrator appears to have common sense. He values scientific evidence and tries to finds his answers through scientific method. Although he is superstitious, the notion that everything the readers know about Roderick’s craziness from narrator’s eyes is not true just because the narrator struggles keeping up is not justified. He correctly diagnosed Roderick of hyperchodria and was right about Roderick many times. Roderick also showed signs of anxiety and depression, something the narrator couldn’t have made up even if he wanted to.
According to the narrator, Roderick is crazy as the fissure rapidly widened and saw that mighty walls rushing asunder. It is evident that narrator is confident about Roderick as he was familiar about his illness. Roderick is hypersensitive whereas his senses are seemed to be magnified. Conversely, it is identified that narrator is concerned about the Roderick illness which ends up killing him. In accordance of Pang, Wang and Hu (2015), Madeline has become paralyzed or went into the coma who also suffers from catalepsy. Narrator proves this statement below:
“A gradual wasting away of the person, a settled apathy and frequent although transient affections of a partly cataleptical attractiveness were the rare diagnosis.” (Poe)
According to the medical opinion, Roderick Usher seems to be in the situation of hypochondria as he believes that he has illnesses that are not backed up by any of the diagnosis. In accordance of the Poe, there is a correlation between hypochondria, madness and illness. It is identified that Roderick is not mentally stable which could lead him to believe that he is seriously ill whereas in fact he is not. Roderick could not aid thinking the wild ritual of this work which influences the hypochondria.
It can be said that there were three themes developed in the story. It is recognized that narrator came to the House of the Usher due to which Roderick said that he felt physically and mentally ill. Roderick know that the events or occasions will transpire with his mind and gradually finish with the death of his friend. It is recognized that Madeline sickness resulted in her death which was technically not a direct cause. It can be said that her sickness did not eradicate her as she was suppressed thriving by the Roderick.
According to Falk and Lanzendorfer (2013), there were not only characters but also the house that has continued to have a feeling of sick as well. This leads to the final collapse that shows that sick not only eat away the house but also the character. As to focus the narrator’s role, it is observed that the Madeline and Roderick drama shows the workings of the artistic imagination. Hence, the consciousness contains the phantasm as psychological allegory that seems to represent the Poe or part of Poe, seething down the soul that creates the art work from his awful dreams.
It is noteworthy that on this pivotal purpose of whether Usher experiences a battle between the will to live and the will to kick the bucket Cohen is not able to quote any expressions of Usher himself or of the storyteller. Cohen's hypothesis is, truth be told, just as likely as the perspective set forward in the past section; it is conceivable, it can be backed by disengaged citations, yet it is a perspective no place explicitly expressed by the creator; it is not a derivation from the subtle elements of the story however a speculation. Cohen's theory is redundant for a comprehension of the story; positively it makes of "The Fall of the House of Usher" an intriguing and lucid story, an all the more interesting and intelligible story than, actually, it is, however its fons et origo is an endeavor not to disclose the story yet to support it against the (conceivably insignificant) feedback that it is not disastrous. I can't help suspecting that there is in the psyche of Usher no battle in light of the fact that there is no will to live. One uncertain citation may be illustrated to propose such a will; it happens at a point where Usher is clarifying the way of his phobophobia: " 'I should die,' said he, 'I must die in this disgraceful indiscretion. Therefore, in this manner, and not something else, might I be lost' The utilization here of "die" and "lost" recommends from the beginning a repulsiveness of death, however it is at any rate conceivable to sup- represent that Usher reasons for alarm not demise yet passing while still abused by his phantasmagoric apprehensions. Trepidation of a frightful passing, if unreasonable, would at any rate be an imaginable type of phobophobia. From the announcement simply cited, usher goes ahead to disavow any trepidation of occasions in them:
". . . I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I have in- deed no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect-in terror. In this unnerved-in this pitiable condition-I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR." (Poe)
In conclusion, it is evident that Roderick has numerous complex psychological issues and his craziness is not the figment of imagination of the narrator. While the narrator does show some signs of mental diseases himself, he is right about Roderick being crazy amd his diagnosis of Roderick’s hyperchondria is right.


Atkinson, T. (2013). Logic and Religion in Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis and Symbolism.
Cook, J. A. (2012). Poe and the Apocalyptic Sublime:" The Fall of the House of Usher". Papers on Language & Literature, 48(1), 3.
Falk, A., & Lanzendörfer, T. (2013). Dualism in Edgar Allen Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. pdf.
Liberto, Nicholas. Edgar Allen Poe, The Fall Of The House Of Usher. An Analysis. Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2013. Print.
Linnarz, Julia. 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher', 'Rip Van Winkle' And 'The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow' In Relation To Tzvetan Todorov's Definition Of The Fantastic. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2010. Print.
Müller, Bianca. The Fallen Narrator In 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher'. München: GRIN Verlag, 2009. Print.
Pang, W., Wang, D., & Hu, S. (2015). Gothicism in The Fall of the House of Usher. Advances in Literary Study, 3(01), 15.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Fall Of The House Of Usher And Other Tales. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg. Print.
Rodríguez, A. J. (2013). Literature, Discourse and Ideology: Dialogizing Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of The House of Usher” in Terms of the Languages of Sexism, Classism and Racism. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (17).
Smith, Andrew. Gothic Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Print.

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