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

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Comment on the setting and character of "The Fall of the House of Usher." How does setting act as a character?

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Excellent observation, as it identifies how the settings of Poe's stories reflect the characters of their protagonists. Whether it is the catacombs in "The Cask of Amontillado" that reflect Montresor's disturbed and twisted character of the House of Usher, whose dilapidation reflects the own mental instability of its owner, Roderick Usher, Poe always uses setting to great effect in his gothic, spine-chilling tales of horror. Consider what we are told about the House of Usher:

Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. the discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old...

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