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

The Fall of the House of Usher book cover
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What are some character traits for Roderick Usher (from "The Fall of the House of Usher")?

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Roderick Usher from "The Fall of the House of Usher" is very clearly a character that Poe imprinted himself upon, or made into a character double. Roderick is incredibly intelligent and bookish and has an unrivaled appreciation for art and music. He has a bit of an escapism problem that no doubt stems from his deep reading, and he often has trouble distinguishing reality from fiction.

During the events of the story, Roderick has fallen into a state of intellectual and physical decline, much like the physical state of his home. He has developed multiple neuroses, such as hypochondria, anxiety, and delusional thinking. He is not strong enough to bear the weight of his family, and upon his sister's death, he loses the final strands of his sanity, bringing an end to the house of Usher once and for all.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Roderick Usher has several character traits.

The first is that he is isolated but still yearns for human contact. He and the narrator have been friends since they were boys. The narrator is his only remaining friend.

The second is the reason the narrator is coming to visit: Roderick is ill. He's suffering both physically and mentally.

The third is that he is reserved. He's been reserved since he was a boy.

A fourth is that Roderick, like the rest of his family, cares deeply about the arts.

A fifth is that he, again like the rest of the family, engages in considerable charity.

All of these we're told directly. From the condition of the Usher family home--in great decay--we can conclude one more important one. Roderick isn't strong enough to maintain his family home.

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