Compare & Contrast Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher - Essay Example

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Both tales are Gothic in that they represent the embodiment of fear characterized by darkness, contrast and the sublime. Melancholic gloom, a prominent feature…
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Compare & Contrast Edgar Allen Poes The Tell Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher
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Download file to see previous pages “…found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was - but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. …I looked upon the scene before me - upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows - upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees…” (Baym/Poe, 1553)
Against this gloomy background we are introduced to the narrator who remains nameless as is the narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart. In typical Gothic fashion The Fall of the House of Usher’s narrator introduces a striking contrast. He is about to enter the gloomy house with a view to bringing some cheer to his friend, Roderick Usher’s melancholic mood. (Byam/Poe, 1553) True to Gothic form Poe has succeeded in introducing us to a subliminal element. This is a subliminal element in that the reader will not hesitate to latch onto as a false sense of security, expecting brightness and a cure to the malady afflicting Roderick Usher. This is a typical technique of Gothic writers. (Punter, 116)
The Gothic element of fear is set up in a different way in The Tell-Tale Heart. The narrator first introduces us to fear that has been instilled in him as a result of the physical condition of an old man’s eye which he described as:
“One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture -- a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.”(Baym/Poe, 1589)
Both tales describe madness in a similar nature. Although in The Fall of the House of Usher, madness is viewed as a malady to be cured while in The Tell-Tale Heart madness is viewed with optimism. Usher who is a hypochondriac complains of having an over sensitivity to sight and sound ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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