An unknown narrator rides on horseback on a dark autumn day, heading towards the house of usher. Prior to his arrival Roderick Usher, an old friend of his, sent him a letter in a distant part of the country informing him about his illness and asking for the narrator to go visit him at the Usher House. Although the narrator knew very little of his old friend he was well aware of his very ancient family. The Usher family had a very particular taste that not many people had.
They were very giving and they had a great passion for the arts. No one ever married into the Usher family, hinting incest, it was because of this fact that the narrator believed all these things were happening to the Usher family. As he arrives he begins to note how depressing and gloomy the house was and how the house was covered with fungi and was surrounded by decaying trees.
He also notices a thin crack that started at the roof, down to the front of the house, and into the lake. As he continues his journey he compares his acts very immature and he becomes very superstitious on what’s to come. Lifting his head, away from the tarn, he looks at the Ushers house and describes the feelings he receives from the house as being dark and terrifying. The house is very weird and has a dangerous smell, the narrator receives an unusual and spiritual attraction from the house that he can’t explain. He describes the house as very old, with fungi growing all over it, and wood decay.
Even though the house looks like it’ll break down at any moment, the building itself has a pretty stable structure that keeps it up.Upon arriving, he was guided into the house and he began to describe the inside of the house as being that same as the outside of the House, ancient and slowly dying. As he walked through the Gothic archway of the hall he noticed how stealthy the stairs were and how dark and dull the inside of the house looked. As he was escorted into Roderick’s room he noticed how long, narrow, and pointed the window was and he noticed the dark draperies that hung from the walls. Even though the room had plenty of books and instruments the room still seemed very gloomy and depressing.
The furniture looked old, torn, and didn’t look comfortable for human pleasure. The air was so intoxicated with sorrow and depression that made the room so unbearable. Usher gave the narrator a warm welcome and the narrator noticed how exhausted Roderick looked. Roderick had a condition which made him hypersensitivity to textures, light, sounds, smells, and tastes. He also laid out signs of bipolar disorder and acute anxiety. The night the narrator arrived at the House of Usher he felt a presence walking behind him, later revealed that it was Roderick’s sister Madeline.
Madeline has also been suffering from an illness and falls into cataleptic, which is a deathlike trance. Over the next several days the narrator and Roderick spent their day’s painting and reading. The narrator tries to cheer up Roderick by insisting that he played an improvised musical composition on the guitar.
One haunting tune that he sang was called, “The Haunted Palace” which tells the story of a lovely palace that goes through a lot of change and becomes dark and depressing. After he finishes singing, Roderick tells the narrator that he believes the house is alive and confesses that the house was the reason for his sanity. As time went on Roderick doesn’t mention Lady Madeline’s name at all. Until one evening where Roderick informs the narrator that Madeline had died and he asked the narrator if her would help him entomb her body. The narrator agrees to help Roderick put the body in the tomb, upon doing this he notices the similarities between the two siblings and comes to the conclusion that they had been twins. After her entombment, the narrator and Roderick become extremely agitated and they begin to hear noises. One stormy night, Roderick goes to the narrator’s bedroom and throws open his window to the storm. Roderick seemed very nervous and jumpy, so the narrator decided to calm him down by reading to him The Mad Trist, a novel that involved a knight who slays a dragon that was guarding a palace of gold.
As the narrator begins to read the story to Roderick, cracking and ripping noises are heard from somewhere within the house. When the main character slays the dragon he leads out a loud shriek, the same shriek that is heard within the house. Roderick becomes extremely paranoid and exclaims that the noises are being made by his sister Madeline, who he entombed while she was still alive. Roderick, who is now going extremely insane; smiling, laughing and yelling. Turns his body towards the door and notices Madeline, with blood all over her clothes and looking very pale.
Madeline rushes towards her brother, falls on top of him, and they both turn into a corpse. The house begins to collapse and the narrator rushes out of there. As he leaves the house he turns back and notices that the crack he saw before, began to widen causing the house to split into two.