The Haunted Palace is a poem within Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher”. The piece is a traditional example of gothic horror, detailing the demise of a family home and the descent of its remaining members into a paranoia-induced madness. The poem, included as a part of the story’s narrative, is used for its thematic parallels to the narrative, and a way to foreshadow the eventual conclusion of the book. The Haunted Palace is a poem describing the story of a king who once ruled a glorious nation. The king was a wise and smart ruler, ensuring the prosperity and wellness of his subjects. However, the appearance of supernatural evil forces influences the kingdom and its ruler, leading to its downfall.
The story makes direct allusions to one of the main characters, Roderick Usher, who is seen as highly paranoid and borderline delusional, believing that supernatural events are taking place in his home. The king’s downfall is a foreshadowing to Roderick’s own descent into madness, and the eventual demise of the whole family. Just as the forces of evil have destroyed the kingdom from the poem, have circumstances and delusion demolished the Usher house. The inclusion of the story is additionally a interesting way to put into question the supernatural aspects of the story as a whole. It is not fully clear to the audience whether Roderick’s stories about the house are true, and the contents of the poem further complicate the matter. By presenting a fantastical narrative with a clear supernatural element, the author makes it harder for the audience to discern the reality of the full piece.