Why does Poe preface "The Fall of the House of Usher" with an excerpt from a poem by De Beranger?What do the lines suggest and howapt are they for the story?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe prefaces his story "The Fall of the House of Usher" with a line written in French that can be translated, "His heart is a hanging lute, which need only to be touched to resound." This suggests that Roderick Usher is meant to represent some kind of creative artist. The paradox with being an artist is that one needs solitude in order to create but an artist also needs contact with people in order to get ideas for their creations. Usher is an artist who has not left his house, the symbol of his mind, for many years. He paints "ideas" not people or things because he has not contact with them. The only way that he has kept his sanity is because of Madeline, who gives him some connection to the outside world. When Madeline becomes ill, that connection is gone and he begins to go mad. The" lute" of his heart is no longer touched so it ceases to "resound" and eventually breaks. The line by DeBeranger foreshadows this collapse.

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The Fall of the House of Usher

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