"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a great example of a story on the basic level of a gothic horror, in which the element of fear is evoked in its highest form. There are many different elements, such as setting, feelings, themes, and characters, that play an essential role in suggesting this. One of the greatest aspects of Poe's writings is that he makes the reader actually experience the feelings of his characters. As in many "scary stories" the characters start doubting themselves and those around them. Everyone has been in a situation where they know something is not quite right and immediately paranoia sets in.
Through the use of literary techniques and devices, Poe has effectively conveyed thematic concerns of Gothicism. Poe’s texts explore the inept fear of the unknown, the decay of an individual’s character and the psychotic relationship between insanity and the expression and instigation of emotions. The Gothic conventions within his work complement each other and operate in conjunction to express themes related to Gothicism, as ambient setting is achieved with the aid of the Gothic conventions of supernatural motifs and reference to darkness. By creating a pastiche of forms and conventions, Edgar Allan Poe’s works are considered sublime paradigms of Gothic fiction.
The reason that the themes in Poe’s story are scary is that they are and will continue to be relevant to its readers. Poe is able to convey fear on two different levels in his most popular short story. By using dark diction and eerie imagery, he creates an overly dramatic horror story, but by adding deeper psychological themes, he creates a timeless work that is relevant to any reader.
Instead of conforming to this perception, people were only led to believe the word to mean “dark and ominous”. Gothic architecture, with the foreboding atmosphere posed around it, correlates with the Gothic novel because it has been a prevalent backdrop to gothic novels in the 19th century, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. These Gothic horror stories were some of the first examples of the horror genre, and are therefore vital for the understanding this field. In its historical context, the gothic horror genre is believed to have emerged as a response to a time of rational thought, the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. This intellectual movement a... ... middle of paper ... ...tablished in the modern horror genre, thus it is practical to observe the archetypes of the Gothic novel as well.
‘That it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me’, shows a conflict between the superstitious and the sceptical. This builds up tension as we know that in most gothic stories, the sceptical are usually the ones to get punished. The narrator is mocking these other characters, which builds suspense as we know that in the end it will be he that will be hurt. Another way in which the writer builds up tension and suspense is by writing the story in first person. This makes us feel emotionally drawn to the character.
At first glimpse, the house itself is surrounded by the feeling of “insufferable gloom”, (1265) “[t]here was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness of thought [...]” (1265). The atmosphere that Poe describes in the statement above establishes a spine-chilling mood. Poe uses words such as “insufferable gloom” (1265) along with other disturbing words to stress the mood of horror. Furthermore, the house evokes suspense as it strikes the reader with curiosity as to why the building presents such a dreadful and uneasy feeling. Poe describes the house with further detail emphasizing its ghostly traits: “Dark draperies hung upon the walls.
The same kind of experiment was tried on Poe’s character Usher in the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, as Poe exposes deliberately his character to a dark, gloomy and isolate setting. In consequence of the experiment, Usher evolves a lot as the story moves on: “His increasingly unstable mental conditions […] [lead to] an exploration of the themes of madness and insanity”
This mode of literature appears to have sprung out from Gothic architecture... ... middle of paper ... ...th possess conventions commonly demonstrated in gothic fiction surrounding setting, atmosphere and theme. Although there are significant differences between the two, it is the execution of collectively recognized themes of gothic literature that enhances their effects on the readers, the most important being the element of the supernatural as well as madness. In both stories, the characters are haunted by paranormal activity that begins to slowly consume them. Throughout the stories they then begin to deteriorate mentally which leads to their demise. The journey in which the reader is taken by observing the slow paced unraveling of their mental state is significantly defining in the overall effect of the gothic fictions.
The term “mystery” also serves to tap into the reader’s curiosity. This quality is important to the overall effect of Poe’s story. By leaving the effect of the house as something somewhat unknown he lures the reader to join the narrator in a disc... ... middle of paper ... ...ing set the stage, Poe’s story culminates with a battle between Usher and his sister. This episode provides the reader with an exciting display of the horror for which he has been warned throughout the story. Earlier in the story the narrator told of the entombment of lady Madeline -- Usher’s sister.
Gothic literature is known for captivating readers by bringing to light the dark side of humanity. The Gothic possesses many key elements such as paranoia, anxiety, death, etc. It strikes fear and suspense in the reader not by creating fictional monsters, but showing the reader the types of monsters that lurk within human beings. In “the Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, various themes of the Gothic are present throughout the short story such as gloom and doom, darkness, and madness. These elements are used to enhance the central theme of the piece: revenge.