Annabel Lee’s Death In ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’: How Did Annabel Die?


There were many vices in each and every character in The Fall of the House of Usher, but Annabel Lee was a league apart, and there are plenty of reasons why we believe she and Roderick Usher were never meant to be together. Auguste Dupin always said that everyone in the Usher family was a monster except that one pure soul, whose light illuminated everything else around her. Roderick was never able to understand her worth, and it was only after the death of Annabel Lee that he realized what he had lost and how no other aspect of his life would ever be able to compensate for that.

Spoiler Alert

Even Madeline was surprised when she found out that Annabel was not putting on a show, but she was actually that kind, that sympathetic, and all in all, a good person. Annabel didn’t want a lot from Roderick, and she only wanted him to be righteous in his approach. She took a lot of pride in the fact that her husband could never take the wrong path, and her world shattered when she realized what kind of monster he and Madeline had become. She asked for the simplest of things, and Roderick failed her and their marriage. We believe that had she been there in Roderick’s life, things would have turned out to be different, and probably he would have never made a deal with Verna, and his company would have never produced Ligodone. So, let’s find out how Annabel Lee was as a person and what the reason behind her death was.

What did Madeline figure out about Annabel?

Madeline and Annabel were two characters who were in stark contrast to each other, and both expected Roderick to act the way they wanted him to. Sometimes, when Annabel heard Madeline speak, she got scared as she realized to what extent that woman was ready to go to realize her dreams. Madeline believed in ruthless pragmatism, whereas Annabel was a romantic; she liked poems, she liked peace, and for her, nothing else mattered more than the happiness of her husband and kids. Annabel often said that money isn’t everything, and Madeline obviously didn’t agree with her and found it way too idealistic and pretentious.

After Roderick was given a pay raise of $500 by Rufus Griswold, Annabel was happy because she knew that with that money, a lot of their problems could be solved. Annabel was a content human being, and she didn’t have the desire to conquer the world. Madeline, on the other hand, went and told her brother how that inconsequential pay raise was just a way through which Rufus wanted him to forget what he actually deserved. She laid out a blueprint for how they were going to get to Rufus and destroy his career, and hearing her speak in such a manner, Annabel was just shocked beyond any measure. Later that night, Annabel told Roderick that she didn’t like Madeline and that she thought that she was not a good person at heart. Madeline always believed that this entire charade of being good to others and following the righteous path was one big hoax, and the real Annabel Lee was as vicious and opportunistic as anybody else. But eventually, Madeline found out that she was terribly wrong in judging her, and Annabel Lee was beautiful inside and out. Madeline was shocked because a person always believes that others will have the same sensibilities as they do, but when that illusion is broken, you realize how different two people living under the same roof could be.

Why did Annabel leave Roderick?

When Auguste Dupin came to Roderick, Annabel was a little bit skeptical about the entire plan they were making to sabotage Rufus Griswold. Annabel was scared of her husband’s well-being, and she didn’t want him to unnecessarily get involved in something that could potentially spoil his entire life. But slowly, Annabel realized that her husband had made up his mind to bring the truth to light and fight for justice for all those families who had lost so much due to the doings of the pharmaceutical giant. From thereon, in The Fall of the House of Usher, Annabel supported her husband in his endeavors, though time and again, she asked Auguste to confirm that nothing would happen to Roderick. Annabel and her children came for the trial, and what she saw there completely changed her perceptions. She saw Roderick changing his stance, and Dupin realized that it was his plan to backstab him all this while.

Dupin might have felt cheated, but Annabel, the beautiful Annabel Lee, felt like her heart had been broken into a hundred pieces. She realized at that moment that even though she loved Roderick, she could not stay with him because, ideologically, they were polar opposites. She knew that Madeline and Roderick had a hard childhood, but still, that could not be used as an excuse to justify their treacherous and dishonest behavior. Annabel realized that she would not want her kids to live in their shadow. It was not the kind of belief system she reconciled with, and she didn’t want her children to become anything like their father or aunt. Annabel decided to leave him with her children, and after that, there was nothing that could stop Roderick from wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent people.

How did Annabel die?

Roderick, in many instances, recites Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee for his wife, telling her how much he loved her and how much he valued her presence in his life. The poem, pretty much like Anna’s life, is about the tragic ending of a beautiful love story and how the speaker yearns to be with the love of his life. But the only difference between the love story shown in the poem and the relationship of Annabel Lee and Roderick in the Fall of the House of Usher was that it was Roderick himself who, we believe, was responsible for leading Annabel Lee to her sepulcher. The kids had gone with Annabel, and Roderick, in his arrogance, just wanted to show Annabel that if she thought that she could have it her way, then she was wrong. He used his money, power, and influence to literally separate Annabel from her kids. He gave his kids whatever they wanted, and obviously, over a period of time, they started liking living with their father, just like any other child would.

Frederick and Tamerlane were very young at that time, and they were not mature enough to understand what their father was trying to do and how it would ruin their lives at a later stage. Annabel probably died as Roderick had taken everything from her, and apart from the grief that she would have felt, she didn’t have a motive to live any further after she got separated from her kids. She had given her all in the relationship, but she realized that it was for nothing, and all those dreams that she had seen would never be realized. It would have broken her from within, and bit by bit, she would have moved towards her own doom. Roderick realized much later that he had spoiled his own cause, but by then, it was too late.

Roderick yearned to be with Annabel, but when she was alive, he made her go through hell and never ever respected or showed gratitude for what she brought to the plate. Roderick treasured his granddaughter Lenore as he saw Annabel Lee in her, but she, too, was taken away by Verna, after which the former knew that he couldn’t find any peace in this lifetime. In Poe’s poem, the speaker joins Annabel Lee in her sepulcher, but we don’t think that Roderick would have been able to do that, as that was the cost he would have to pay in his afterlife for all the sins he had committed.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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