Tamerlane’s Death In ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’: What Happens In ‘Gold Bug’ Short Story?


We were made privy to many convoluted characters in The Fall of the House of Usher who were facing inner conflicts, which they could never resolve throughout their lives. Tamerlane Usher was one such character who, on the face of it, was very specific and clear about what she desired, but we realized in the end that she was doing it for all the wrong reasons, and moreover, she wasn’t able to accomplish anything, be it on the personal or professional front. Tamerlane was a victim of her own actions, and she realized that, in the end, she couldn’t blame anyone for her misery. She had made the kind of choices that she should never have, and she always ran away from resolving her own insecurities and inhibitions, which later ate her up alive. Tamerlane always felt that she had risen above her insecurities, probably because she didn’t want others to perceive her as a weak person, but by not talking about what was going on inside her mind and what she actually desired and letting her ego lead the way, she dug her own grave. So, let’s get to know Tamerlane a bit better, understand her sensibilities, and try to find a rational explanation behind whatever she did in her life.

Spoiler Alert

How was Tamerlane’s relationship with Bill?

Tamerlane never treated Bill as her partner, and for her, he was just an asset, a very important one, but just somebody whom she needed to be there for her in her personal and professional life. When things went downhill between them, and they started having a lot of heated arguments, Tamerlane often ended up hurting the guy and telling him how she had headhunted him, and it was not like she had fallen in love or she couldn’t live her life without him. Tamerlane always made it very clear to Bill, in each and every argument they had, that he was not indispensable and that she would get hundreds of fitness experts who would probably do a better job as compared to him. Bill was a simple man who actually loved Tamerlane, and he wanted to be there for her at every step, just like any other partner. Bill always believed GoldBug, the lifestyle brand they were trying to create, to be their baby, but Tamerlane made it very clear to him that he was just the poster boy and not the mouthpiece of the venture.

Tamerlane liked watching her partner get intimate with other women, and they had an escort service in place from where they used to call for women. But one fine day, Verna arrived at their doorstep, pretending to be from the agency from where they called the girls, and she told them that the girl who used to come earlier was not available at the moment due to some reason. Verna made Tamerlane insecure, and what we perceived as something closely associated with the concept of “compersion” was soon replaced by jealousy, and Tamerlane realized that these ethical, non-monogamous settlements were not working for her anymore. Verna made sure that Tamerlane saw her multiple times in Bill’s livestream, and the latter started feeling that she was being displaced from her position of power. Tamerlane’s anger came out on Bill, and she asked him to pack his things and leave the house. Bill tried to make her understand that he was just doing what she had asked him to, and he hadn’t even noticed Verna when he was doing the livestream. Tamerlane said some really mean and hurtful things to Bill, and he realized that instead of getting insulted and demeaned, he should make an exit from his wife’s life.

How did Tamerlane die?

Tamerlane was the kind of woman who said that she didn’t actually have any feelings for Bill, but still she wanted him to be attracted to her and give her that sort of importance. She felt a sense of power when she was able to dictate terms to him and govern his life. After Verna came into the picture, disguised as Candy, Tamerlane started feeling vulnerable, and she felt jealous of this woman, who, in her head, was trying to take over her life. Apart from her relationship issues, Tamerlane was suffering from insomnia, due to which she was seeing things that didn’t exist. She was so tired that she often dozed off while speaking, and no medication was able to help her cause, and additionally, the launch of her brand was stressing her out.

Tamerlane wanted everything to go perfectly at her launch event, but mentally, she was not in a state to go out there on the podium and address the audience. She had started losing her mind till the end of The Fall of the House of Usher Episode 6, and was not at all confident before going on stage, even after Madeline had tried to motivate her and elevate her mood. Tamerlane started hallucinating in between her speeches, and she could see Verna sitting in the audience, which made her lose her temper. She started behaving erratically, and suddenly, she felt that the moments from her private life were being displayed on the screen installed in the auditorium. Tamerlane ended up creating a scene, and she came back to her house, feeling tormented by what she had done. Tamerlane knew that she had spoiled everything, but the voices inside her head didn’t seem to leave her. She saw Verna everywhere, and in the end, she saw her in the mirror on her ceiling, and she ended up hitting it with the iron poker. Tamerlane fell on her bed; the pieces of glass pierced her body, and she relieved herself from the misery forever.

What Were The Thematic Similarities With Edgar Allen Poe’s Gold Bug?

Edgar Allen Poe’s Gold Bug is about a man named William Legrand, who belonged to a wealthy family from New Orleans but had lost everything due to some bad financial decisions. He had found an artifact, a gold bug, and he believed it could lead him to a treasure. The protagonist had a unique talent where he could see patterns and break complex codes that others generally couldn’t. Once when the narrator came to visit Legrand, he didn’t have the golden bug in his possession. So, just to show the narrator, he drew a sketch, and eventually, he himself became obsessed with it, as he had noticed that there were some markings on that sketch that resembled a skull. And he knew that if he was able to get his hands on the cryptographic message, he would find the treasure and solve the mystery.

Now, thematically, if we see, there are not a lot of similarities between Poe’s short story and what happened in Tamerlane’s life in the fall of the House of Usher. Yes, both Legrand and Tamerlane had become obsessed with finding that treasure, which they knew could change their lives. Tamerlane wasn’t somebody who believed in her product, and she had probably not even used anything from that curated hamper that she was selling. In fact, it was the opposite, as she had the unhealthiest life ever, and even Bill pointed out to her that her mental and physical health was of the utmost importance, now more than ever, as her name was going to be associated with such a brand. Now, apart from the Gold Bug, there is another short story written by Poe, named William Wilson, in which the writers explore the entire doppelganger phenomenon.

In the story, the protagonist finds his doppelganger, and the existence of a man who could potentially take over every aspect of his life makes him feel threatened and drives him to insanity. Though it couldn’t be said that Tamerlane felt that exact same thing, she did experience something close to that at one point in time.  When she met Candy, aka Verna, and saw her multiple times on the live stream, she did start feeling vulnerable. She even told Bill that Verna, whom she believed to be Candy, was like a knockoff brand that was more like a cheap imitation of her.

Though Tamerlane kept herself on her higher pedestal when she spoke, she too was getting very insecure, and the presence of a person capable of taking over even the inconsequential aspects of her life made her feel scattered and miserable. Verna’s presence was not the only reason why she was driving herself to insanity, but clearly, it had triggered her, and now her mind was not under her control. Verna asked Tamerlane, in her last moments, to stay calm, as the former didn’t feel that the latter had done something as grave as Fredrick and that she should be given a painful death. But Tamerlane was not able to control herself, and she joined the lists of the Ushers, who walked towards their own doom and paid the price of the sins of their clan.

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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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