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Vampirism in the Fall of the House of Usher

             In "The Fall of the House of Usher", by Edgar Allen Poe, supernatural concepts are suggested and become essential to understand "what it was that so unnerved (the narrator) in the contemplation of the House of Usher (529)". Supernatural phenomenon opens up the exploration for one particular supernatural explanation, vampirism. Not only do Roderick and Madeline Usher display traits of vampirism, but so also does the House of Usher itself. Even the narrator, Roderick's childhood companion, describes "a sense of insufferable gloom (529)" which pervaded his spirit as he approached the house of Usher, a feeling which only grows as he gets closer and eventually enters the house. As a vampire sucks blood from its victims, the house seems to suck the vitality and hope from the narrator and leaves him as hopeless and dreary as its inhabitants. The explanation of the Ushers as vampires leads to a deeper understanding of the characters, their motivations, and the ultimate fate of "The Fall of the House of Usher.".
             Roderick and Madeline, as described by the narrator, possess several traits common to vampires. It is understood that vampires possess extremely pale skin and a somewhat hypnotic stare. Roderick is described as having a "cadaverousness of complexion," "ghastly pallor of the skin," and eyes possessing a "miraculous luster (531)". These initial observations of Roderick by the narrator indicate the likely hood of his vampirism. Therefore, it is not far fetched to assume that Roderick is a direct symbol of one. Madeline, lacking any physical description in the story, is described as merely having a figure; an "air", and her features identical, "in their very minutest development (532)," to those of her twin brother, Roderick. In addition to the more obvious traits of vampires, Roderick and Madeline are endowed with more subtle characteristics. For example, Roderick's eyes were "tortured by even a faint light (532)".

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