Mental Illness In Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall Of The House Of Usher

1686 Words7 Pages
Illness is one of the few experiences that all humans have in common and generally is met with empathy. However, people who suffer from mental illness are not privy to this treatment. For centuries, mental disorders have been demonized and stigmatized even in the modern era where humans have a much better understand of the mechanisms of the mind. Before the advent of psychiatry in the eighteenth-century people believed that mental illness was actually demonic possession resulting in the ostracization and murder of the mentally ill in the name of God. The Victorian era was met with a different view of mental illness, in that it was understood that it was a malady of the mind and people needed constant medical treatment, thus federally mandated asylums were created. Since mental illness was not understood there was a lot of misconceptions and fear surrounding the field. It is no surprise that the master of macabre and the creator of Horror, Edgar Allen Poe, decided to explore themes of mental illness in his stories. Poe’s most famous story about mental illness was The Fall of the House of Usher, where the main characters are plagued with an undisclosed mental malady. Through Poe’s use of point of view, style, tone, and tropes, he painted a perfect picture of the Victorian view of the mentally ill and the mind of the artist which was believed to be different faces of the same coin. One of the most important choices Poe made when writing this story was to have it told in the
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