The role of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher" is that of observer more than an active participant. A childhood friend of Roderick Usher, the narrator serves to comment on the setting and on the state of Roderick’s condition. It is the narrator’s observations, however, that convey the sense of dread that permeates Poe’s story of a family’s final descent into madness and destruction. Note, for example, in the following passage the narrator’s description of the Usher estate, the “House of Usher” to which he is arriving in response to Roderick’s letter:
“With the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. . . . I looked upon the scene before me. . . with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the opium den. . . there was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart”
Poe’s narrator, as noted, is an old friend of Roderick Usher...
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