The narrator arrives by horseback at the House of Usher. Roderick Usher wrote a letter to the narrator to come and visit him for a short time to help him overcome an agitation of his soul that he has been experiencing. The narrator observes that house seems sickly, and Usher himself is pale and sickly. The state of the house seems to be coinciding with the state of Roderick Usher.
Usher reveals that his twin sister Madeline is dying. She passes, and Usher decides to keep her body in a vault in one of the walls while he makes plans for her burial. He also wants to protect her from being studied by the doctors. The narrator notices that Madeline’s cheeks and chest are still flushed. Usher’s appearance and demeanor worsen after Madeline’s death.
Shortly after Madeline was placed in the vault, the narrator begins to hear strange noises in the house. One night, in the middle of a terrible storm, Usher comes to the narrator’s bed chamber and they open the window to a terrifying atmosphere with low-hanging clouds and fog that surround the house. The narrator begins to read to Usher to calm him down.
As the narrator reads through the story, the sounds he describes begin to echo in the house. When he reaches the climax, there is a scream in the house. Usher tips over his chair and begins rocking back and forth. Usher whispers that he’s been hearing sounds from his sister’s coffin and he fears he might have buried her alive. The door flies open, and Madeline is standing there, covered in blood.
Madeline leaps upon Roderick and dies. Roderick also dies, likely from shock and fear. The narrator flees the house.
As the narrator watches, he sees the house collapse and disappear into the ethereal fog and waters. Eventually, the house is completely gone.