A Madman's Confession In The Tell-Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

Decent Essays
A Madman’s Confession
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a magnificent tale of an unnamed narrator attempting to defend his sanity while revealing he has committed murder. The storyteller makes us believe that he is in full control of his mind yet he is experiencing a disease that causes him oversensitivity of the senses. However, it is not the disease that draws us into the story; it is the way Poe vividly illustrates the destruction mental illness has that leaves a stain on the reader’s mind.
There are several passages within the story that demonstrate auditory hallucinations, deluded beliefs thought processes, and violent tendencies. In modern times we can conclude these are symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. However, when this story was composed, paranoid schizophrenia was not yet discovered, meaning this tale would have been originally considered dark and sinister, compared to society’s current standards.
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Driven by his paranoia, he thought: “they were making a mockery of my horror" (45). Poe was able to illustrate the narrator’s mental breakdown, as you cannot hear the beating of a dead heart; however, if you are frightened or your pulse is racing, many people claim they can hear the whooshing sounds of their own heart beating. Poe again illustrates how destructive the illness is on the narrator, as the narrator is no longer able to tell the difference between reality and his delusion and could only conclude it was the old man’s heart beating beneath the floorboards.
In conclusion, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is an incredible gothic fiction story which Poe eloquently illustrates how mental illness can consume a person’s mind and untimely destroy how reality is perceived. However, it does leave you to question how Poe can understand the inner workings of a mad man’s mind so effortlessly without being mad
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