Lenore’s Death In ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’: Why Did Verna Kill Lenore Usher?


If there had been a magic mirror in The Fall of the House of Usher, and if it had been asked who was the fairest Usher of them all, then without any hesitation, it would have taken the name of Lenore, who was Roderick’s granddaughter. There were a lot of reasons why Roderick adored Lenore; a few of those reasons stemmed from his regrets, and a few came from the kind of person Lenore was. Auguste Dupin hadn’t met Lenore, as otherwise, he would have never said that Annabel Lee was the only pure-hearted soul in the entire Usher clan. The name Lenore finds a mention in Edgar Allan Poe’s all-time classic poem, The Raven, though in it, she is the lover of the narrator, and we do not get to know a lot about her per se. So, let’s find out what traits made Lenore different from the rest of the Ushers, what kind of relationship she shared with her father and grandfather, and what happened when she finally faced death, i.e., Verna.

Spoiler Alert

What kind of relationship did Lenore share with Frederick?

Lenore didn’t have anything against her father because she was probably too naive to understand the kind of man he was. For any child, it becomes very difficult to judge their own parents as a third person because there is always that bias present due to obvious reasons. Lenore didn’t realize the kind of man her father was until he brought Morella back home with the intention of torturing her. Frederick had told his daughter that he was taking Morella home because he would be able to take better care of her, and he also lied about the fact that he had contacted a few doctors who would be visiting her regularly and keeping her under observation. Lenore started noticing that her mother’s health was deteriorating, and she kept asking her father why the specialists were not coming to visit her.

Frederick gave her vague replies, and though she had an idea of what he was up to, her conscience was just not ready to accept the fact that her own father would do something like this to her mother. Frederick unleashed the monster inside him, and he subjected Morella to the kind of brutality that nobody could have ever imagined. Lenore hated her father for what he had done, and she felt even worse for not being there for her mother when she needed her the most. The atrocities brought out a very different side of Lenore, and she was no longer the docile girl she used to be. We saw that after the death of Frederick, Arthur Pym approached her, and she told him that anyone who came in between her and her mother would face her wrath.

Why was Roderick biased toward Lenore?

There were many reasons why Roderick liked Lenore, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that out of all his successors, he respected her the most for the kind of person she was. Roderick somewhere knew that he had sealed the fate of his granddaughter, though for the longest time, he was in denial, or it could be said that he believed that his meeting with Verna was merely a figment of his imagination. But gradually, when he realized that it was not so, he just hoped that Death would leave Lenore alone. But Verna was bound by the contract, and as much as she didn’t want to take the life of that pure-hearted girl, she didn’t have any other option.

Roderick had utter disdain for his own kids, and though he was responsible for the way they turned out, he didn’t find them worthy. But then Lenore was born, and Roderick saw that even after being exposed to opulence, she didn’t have a single trait that her father had. Instead, she was much more like her grandmother, Annabel Lee, as she was considerate towards others, and money was not the most important thing in her life. Madeline, after the death of Lenore, had created an AI version of her, which mapped her consciousness and replicated everything. But it was not the same as being around an actual human being, and Roderick knew that no matter how much he tried to escape from embracing reality, it was he who was solely responsible for the death of his granddaughter. The kind of affection Roderick had for Lenore could be assessed from the fact that even when Arthur Pym came and told him that Lenore was in a rebellious mood, Roderick didn’t try to stop her. Instead, he told Arthur that whatever Lenore did would be the right course of action because that girl was unlike any other Usher.

What happened when Lenore met death?

Death knew that she would have to take Lenore with her, but she wanted it to happen in the most peaceful manner. Verna tried to comfort Lenore in her last moments and told her that her mother would get a share of the Usher estate, and she would spend a chunk of it for charitable purposes. Verna knew that money didn’t entice her, so she also revealed to her that the lives of millions of women would be saved because of the efforts put in by her mother. Even Death did not like coming for such a beautiful soul so prematurely. But there was a deal in place, and Verna had no option other than to take Lenore away with her, though she tried her level best to ease her anxieties and give her a peaceful send-off from the mortal world. Verna even said that this part of her job, where she has to take the life of a person like Lenore, who has not done anything wrong in their life, is the hardest of it all.

Lenore’s death was probably one of the reasons why Roderick stopped trying to buy his way out and accepted his fate. He realized what he had lost and how foolish he was back in the day to make that sort of deal. Lenore’s death was the final nail in the coffin, though, unlike Edgar Allen Poe’s narrator from The Raven, we couldn’t empathize with Roderick even for a minute because, no matter how apologetic he felt at the end of the Fall of the House of Usher, the fact remained that he was responsible for bringing the opioid crisis to his country. With Lenore’s death, the entire bloodline of Ushers came to an end, and in their last moments, Roderick and Madeline must have felt the urge to go back in time and change whatever had happened on that fateful night of 1979.

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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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