The Fall of the House of Usher Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Fall of the House of Usher book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,328 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial