A question on The House of Usher

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Do you think Roderick and Madeline in The House of Usher held a relationship beyond brotherhood, (Such as incest) ? Thanx

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2002


It was somewhat a fashion for various of the great Romantics to be emotionally close to their female sibling (Wordsworth, Wagner) in a way that was related to their art and philosohpy, if not their concentration on the self and its closest ties. The actual act is of course rarely discussed though shockingly suggested even if it never occurred. Concentration on the self and exploration of the forbidden and bizarre were trademarks. The unhealthy ties of doom between the very claustrophobic rotting house, the last survivors of the House of Usher and the shared infirmity are all quite horrible enough. Implosion of the soul at the final fall. The final embrace is probably the most complete symbol of the deadly relationship. The shock does not need any other scandalous prehistory at that point and there is none provided.

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2002

I'm not a scholar on the subject, but I don't believe there was any relationship beyond brotherhood. The tale mentions that the 'House of Usher', referring to the family name, did not leave any enduring branch. This could simply mean that the family tree did not 'fork' at any point. That is, only one son was born per generation to carry on the family, perhaps.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ