In "The Fall of the House of Usher," what does Roderick symbolize?

1 Answer | Add Yours

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

When considering symbolism in Gothic Literature (especially Edgar Allan Poe) I think it is safe to say the following ideas are probably represented somewhere:

- darkness (physical, mental, emotional, moral)
- evil
- secrecy

Consider Roderick's characteristics:

- hypochondriac and disorder of heightened senses
- artistic
- keeps to himself
- generally kind but clearly hiding something

I think it would be safe to argue that he is symbolic of a family secret, an evil.  Most probably interpret it as incest.  He is the last of the Usher line, which means the secret dies with him.

We’ve answered 317,584 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question