The Image Of Death Edgar Allen Poe English Literature Essay

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Inside the house of Usher, the theme of death fails to change. Furniture, books and artwork, death has taken over it all. Dark and gloomy characteristics remain particularly evident in the furniture. The narrator describes some of the furniture while walking through the house, he sees the "...the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode" (Poe 3). The blackness of the tapestries and the floors reiterate the theme of death. While outside the house the white trees loomed where death has already engulfed, the blackness of the furniture inside shows death hasn't quite killed everything yet. Although darkness represents death, the house and the people inside haven't died. The black furniture just shows the slow deterioration of the life of the Ushers. As Michael J. Hoffman suggests, Usher can't escape the death of his life; death has already invaded too much of him. The narrator walks into the dark room where Roderick Usher sits in jaded furniture (Poe 3). The stern atmosphere of the room creates a deep and gloomy feel just as the atmosphere of the exterior of the house (Poe 3). The artwork in this room portray the images of death; one painting by Usher, of a long rectangular vault or tunnel under the ground, with low white walls could be found in this room (Poe 5). This painting completed by Usher foreshadows the upcoming death of one of the Ushers.

The night of the Usher's last breath, has a setting of ultimate death. The narrator does not sleep the night of their deaths due to the storm. The storm sets up an eerie, anxious mood. The narrator hears sounds he can't identify through the pauses of the storm (Poe 9). The clouds and the vapor of the storm enshrouded the house (Poe 10). Darrel Abel explains how on the night of the Ushers death the house becomes the "haunted palace" from the song Usher had sung before (383). The vapors of the storm "enshrouding" the house show that death has made its final move on the house. When the Ushers finally die, the narrator runs outside in panic. The narrator describes the sight of the vivid blood-red moon through the crack in the house (Poe 12). The moon symbolizes the blood shed that occurred that night. In the end the house couldn't withstand the pressure of death (Poe 12). The once visible zigzag crack now ripped the house apart (Poe 12). Death now has the entire house in its grasp and continues ripping the life out of it. In one last flash of light the walls of the house come crashing down, resulting in the fall of the house of usher or the death of the house of usher (Poe 12).

The setting in "The Fall of the House of Usher" played a major role in the portrayal of death. Poe's use of words and imagery set the gloomy mood and tone of the story. The symbols of death reveal themselves throughout the story. Like most of Poe's work, this story takes the element of death and turns it into the ultimate horror story.