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The Effects of mental and Physical Torture in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of The House of Usher" and "The Pit and The Pendulum".

Johanna Velecela

on 20 September 2011

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Transcript of IOP

IOP The effects of fear in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of The House of Usher". Short Summaries In "The Fall of The House of Usher" , begins when an annamed protagonist, also the narrator, is summoned to the remote mansion of his boyhood friend, Rodrick Usher. Filled with a sense of dread by the sight of the house itslef, the Narrator reunites with his old companion, who is suffering from a strange mental illness and whose sister Madeline is near death due to a mysterious disease. The narrator provides company to Usher while he paints and plays guitar, spending all his days inside, avoiding the sinlight and obsessing over the sentience of non-living. When Madeline dies, Usher decides to bury her temporarily in one of his house's large vaults. A few days later , however, she emerges from her provisional tomb, killing her brother while the Narrator flees for his life. The House of Usher splits apart and collapses, wiping away the last remnants of the ancient family. "The Tell-Tale Heart" follows an annamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a "vulture eye". The murder is carefully calculated by the narrator, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the floorboards. Predictable by his nervousness in the end, the narrators guilt manifests itself in the hallucination that the man's heart is still neating under the floorboard, and confesses the murder to the police who were in the house. In "The Fall of The House of Usher", what seems to terrify Rodrick Usher is Fear itself. As implied in the short story by his anxiety, Usher irrationally dreads the future, the intangible and the unknowable, which he defines as Fear. This definition of fear symbolizes the damages caused within him due to his life as being part of the twisted Usher family. Fears of Main Characters In "The Tell-Tale Heart", the insane narrator's fear is the old mans "vulture eye". The narrators fear symbolizes his fear of himself and his insecurities. "To an anomalous species of terror I found him a ... bounden slave. "I shall perish," said he, "I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. […] I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect--in terror. In this unnerved—in this pitiable condition--I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reasontogether, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR." Roderick isn’t afraid of death or pain; he is afraid of fear. And as he predicts, this is precisely what he dies of, when Madeline comes back from her tomb and scares him to death. "...it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye" This eye becomes a symbol, and even a pun, for the I, or mad self of the narrator. The eye has a film over it, an unseeing eye, and almost described as the eye of the murderer himself. In both short stories, the characters, Rodrick Usher and the Narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart", are both lead into insanity by their fears. Usher's fear of "Fear" puts him in a state of mental instability.
His fear causes him physical and mental damages.
Rodrick becomes isolated to separate him from normal reality.
Burying Madeline in the house, encloses his fear even more.
He foreshadows Medelines return in his insanity, and dreads it.
The House falls apart as Rodrick Usher dies being the last Usher. The Narrators Fear of himself, is caused by the incapability to see within himself.
His insanity driven by fear makes him believe that by destroying the eye, he will destroy his fear.
Burying the dismanteled body under the floor board only worsens the situation by causing him anxiety.
(He destroyed the eye; He destroyed himself)
(By removing the evil eye from the old man, he removed himself from sanity)
In the end his fear is not destroyed but fortified by his actions causing hsi own destruction. The Tell-Tale Heart The Fall of The House of Usher
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