What is the role of Edgar Allan Poe, in the story "The Fall of the House of Usher"?Can the reader consider him the narrator who is the friend of Usher?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe may certainly be considered as the narrator who visits Roderick Usher in "The Fall of the House of Usher."  For, in this Gothic horror tale, the narrator is Poe's vehicle for creating the tone through his use of the "arabesque," the ornate prose that creates turns and twists in the plot.  Indeed, there are many melodramatic exaggerations employed to create the initial mood of the exposition.  For instance, the narrator describes the "melancholy" mansion and the "insufferable gloom" that he feels as he approaches the decaying Usher mansion that possesses "vacant eye-like windows" and a "few rank sedges." Unnerved, the narrator wonders with "a shudder even more thrilling than before" what lies inside this ruin of the "mansion of gloom."

The friend, Roderick, concurs with the narrator that the house exerts "a perverse influence" over their feelings as events transpire in the Usher household.  And, because there is some ambiguity about the reliability of the narrator, the gothic element is increased in Poe's story.  While some readers perceive the narrator as representative of rationality, others find him unreliable, thereby suggesting that the events described by Roderick may merely be his hallucinations, and the narrator may have helped Usher murder his own sister. Nonetheless, with such ambiguity, it seems likely that Poe is the designer of the narration in his story, "The Fall of the House of Usher" since it is his intention to create the ambiguity that creates terror in his story.

Read the study guide:
The Fall of the House of Usher

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question