"The Tell-Tale Heart" Madness

Essay by LapachkaHigh School, 11th grade July 2006

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 49 times

"Tell-Tale Heart" is one of the shortest short stories Edgar Allan Poe had ever written. It is a magnificent tale of mental deterioration in which Poe uses his wording very efficiently. The story is told by an unnamed narrator who is attempting to defend his sanity yet confessing to having killed an old man. It is one of the greatest stories ever written and Poe uses literary devices such as point of view and symbolism and the element of theme to fully develop the ideas he attempts to portray in this story.

In this tale of criminal insanity, Poe uses an unnamed first-person narrative. "Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad?" Right from the start the narrator pulls the reader into the story as the evaluator. He suggests that the reader is the one to judge whether or not he is indeed mad.

The reader only sees through the narrator's eyes but he describes his actions so thoroughly that he reveals that he is in reality insane. "I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head...I moved it slowly, very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening...Ha! Would a madman have been so wise as this?" He attempts to demonstrate his sanity by clarifying all the aspects of the murder caused by "The Eye."

The narrator fixates on the idea that the old man is looking at him with...