‘The Fall of the House of Usher’: What Did Eliza Usher Died of & Why She Never Wanted to See the Doctor?

what did eliza usher died of and why she refused to call the doctor

‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ is Mike Flanagan’s latest masterpiece. The show was loosely based on a short Edgar Allan Poe story under the same name and dealt with the fall of a great dynasty that was set to change the world. Madeline and Roderick, who started it all, had a difficult childhood, which Roderic attributed to his mother and the trauma both he and Madeline went through while she was on her deathbed. We know that Eliza Usher suffered from something truly terrific during her last moment, and we’re here to shed some light on her mystery illness. So, what did Eliza suffer from? 

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Eliza, Roderick’s and Madeline’s mother, died from CADASIL, a rare form of dementia caused by the thickening of the small and medium-sized blood vessels, blocking the blood flow to the brain, which induces migraines, pain, and cognitive problems.
  • Eliza had all the symptoms of that terrifying condition, and the primary reason why she didn’t want to call the doctor was her sickness-induced paranoia.

Eliza’s sickness started manifesting early in her life 

The first thing we know about Eliza is the fact that she is naive. She worked as a secretary for William Longfellow, which at that time served as CEO of Fortunato, a company that would one day be in the ownership of the Usher family, his unwated “heirs.” 

Eliza worked for William for 20 years, according to the words of her children, and she got nothing but grief out of it. Madeline and Roderick figured early that William was their father, and this is what, in part, shaped his principles later in life and what fueled his desire for ownership of Fortunato. 

Eliza Usher

But I digress. Eliza loved William, for some reason invisible to me. She was willing to keep his secret until her deathbed, which is a sign of naivete or merely her future cognitive decline manifesting early. It’s quite possible that Eliza’s mental struggles started back in her early days, and her blind obedience toward William and religious fervor were the result of cognitive decline. 


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She was in great pain toward the end 

The second flashback involves Eliza Usher seizure in bed. Madeline and Roderic want to call the doctor, but she refuses. They attempt to talk Willima into talking to her and getting some sense into her, but he rudely dismisses them. This is consistent with CADASIL. Eliza Usher showed symptoms of dementia, decline in memory, seizures, mood disturbances, and other calamities associated with the disease. 

It’s possible that what Eliza went through inspired Roderic to take on the painkillers as his profession, although at some point, it went terribly terribly wrong, and instead of healing the world, he poisoned it. 

Why did Eliza avoid the doctors? 

Eliza was adamant that her children not call the doctor when she clearly needed it. It’s possible that she avoided the doctor because of her sickness-induced paranoia. Her cognitive abilities deteriorated up to the point where she refused to see common sense and perceived everything as a danger. 

It’s also possible that the fact that she worked at Fortunato, a pharmaceutical company, she knew that what the doctor was about to prescribe to her would lead only to more troubles and suffering and would only prolong her sickness. 

Eliza Usher burried

Overall, Eliza’s disease was the domino that started everything. If Madeline and Roderick grew up in a stable home, taken care of without witnessing their mother’s both cognitive and emotional decline, maybe their ambitions wouldn’t grow to such extremes, and maybe their sense of justice for family legacy wouldn’t become so perverted. 

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