At the end of the story, Madeline brings about the death of Roderick. His explanation implies that Madeline is, in fact, Roderick's fear. Madeline is, therefore, a ghost, an apparition, and the House of Usher a traditional Gothic setting that provides the claustrophobic isolation necessary for the events to take place; in other words, the house serves to intensify the fear.
What was communicated, with delicacy, was a sense of "mystery" for something great, that had to be approached with deep reverence, and which, when abused, led to very serious offenses against God.
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