In the short story “Tell-Tale Heart” written by Edgar Allan Poe, there are two main characters- the narrator (perceived as insane) and the Old Man (perceived as innocent). The narrator is disturbed by the Old Man’s “vulture eye” and therefore murders him. After the murder, the narrator dismembers the Old Man and buries him under the floorboard. When the intrepid narrator is questioned by the police of a scream a neighbor overheard, the narrator courageously invited the officers in. During the duration of the officer’s stay, the narrator begins to hear the heart he or she has buried under the floorboard; the escalating sound of the heartbeat causes the narrator to ultimately confess to the murder of the Old Man. Poe uses various literary devices to portray the narrator’s insanity in the short story “Tell-Tale Heart.”
Edgar Allan Poe, was especially antisocial, and some would say insane. His “insanity” was solely prompted by events in his life. On December 8, 1811, both of Poe's parents died from the dreadful disease, tuberculosis. Poe's foster mother, with whom he was close with, dies in Richmond on February 28, 1829 from a long sickness. Upon the date Aug 1, 1831, Poes older brother Henry dies of either tuberculosis or cholera at the age of 27. Poe's wife Virginia died of tuberculosis on Jan 30, 1847 (Poe Museum). Poe has been so despondent while the illness consumed the final months of Virginia's life that friends thought he was going insane. The loss of his wife extended Poes dependency on alcohol. Some of Poe’s beliefs were viewed as ludicrous, but truly were coherent. Poe expresses these beliefs throughout his stories.These beliefs include, alcohol can end and destroy one's life, there's nothing to stop death, and that true happiness is not possible as long as moral evil lurks within the darkness.
Some readers may argue that the narrator is sane because he constantly explains that his actions are sane. However, the narrator is actually insane because the actions that he justifies are very abnormal. The narrator explains that he concealed the body by, “ First of all, [dismembering] the corpse. [He] cut off the head and the arms and the legs” (Poe l 133-134). Clearly, the narrator’s actions mentioned above are not normal. No sane person would be proud of how carefully they concealed a dead body. The narrator is just trying to explain his peculiar actions in a normal way, which he hopes will convince the reader he is sane. Although the narrator justifies himself, the actions he carried out are not even something a sane person would do, therefore making him insane.
Edgar Allan Poe was an extraordinary author whose horror and mystery stories leave an impression on readers even today. In some of Poe’s works, the narrator’s thoughts and actions make the reader question the narrator’s sanity. Two good examples are Poe’s poem “The Raven” and his short story “The Black Cat”; there is plenty of evidence to support that both of the narrators are not completely sane. In Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Black Cat,” both narrators exhibit symptoms of mental illness, including hallucinations, illogical thinking, mood swings, and substance abuse.
“True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Poe) In “Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allan Poe illustrates that the narrator has an acute need of the old man’s vulture eye and eventually murders the man on the eighth night. The author highlights the events of the murder and soon, the narrator confesses to the police of his guilt. As Edgar Allan Poe fabricates this short story, he enthralls the readers by giving the events specific detail. If Edgar Allan Poe were to ever continue the story where the narrator would be put on trial, he would be guilty of premeditated murder. The reason for this is because the narrator cunningly planned the murder, had a motive of killing the old man, and finally at the end of the short story, he knew from right to wrong.
The narrator butchered the man. That is an indisputable fact. The question is, is he sane? The narrator stalked an innocent man for 8 nights, then brutally murdered and grotesquely dismembered him. He then proceeds to put the body parts under the floor boards. The narrator talks about his surprisingly logical thought process, the careful and perfect execution of his plan, and his terrible guilt as he could hear the dead man’s heart beat. The defense will tell you that this man is an innocent, sedentary man, and that everything he did was the fault of his mental illness, but do not listen to them. This man is deleterious, and it is imperative that he is locked away. The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” was sane because he could distinguish fantasy from reality, he could feel guilt, and he was thinking logically. This evidence will prove that the narrator is sane.
First, Poe suggests the narrator is insane by his assertions of sanity. For example, the narrator declares because he planned the murder so expertly he could not be insane. He says, "Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen how wisely I proceeded-with what
The narrator is concerned that someone is going to find out that he killed the old man. He finds out that the old man vexes him but more his eye. The narrator acted innocently, so the officers wouldn’t know that he was guilty. The “Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe is about a narrator, that convinces readers of his sanity for the murder that he commits to an old man with a vulture
The tone of the narrative is rather mysterious which conveys an energetic and odd mood. “The Tell-Tale Heart” talks about a villain who is very disturbed by the abhorrent eye of an old man. The villain is so bothered by the atrocious eye that he convinces himself into killing the innocent old man although he delays the murder day after day because he is eager to find the most ideal time to commit the murder. Although after a seven-day wait, the villain decides to kill the old man on the eight night, and he hides the corpse of the elder under a series of floorboards in a very clever manner. Soon after, the police arrived at the house that the murder was committed in because the neighbors of the old man complained that they heard a noise coming
Poe indicates through the occurrence of the events that the narrator has descended into madness. As his guilt constantly haunts him, the narrator is unable to hide it any longer, and confesses everything to the authorities, which ruins his seemingly “perfect crime.” Here, his sanity is in question, as no man of sound mind would openly confess his evil doings to the authorities. The fact that he narrates his crime to prove that he is sane, proves that he is in fact, insane (Holland).
The narrator in “Tell-Tale Heart” is unreliable because he is mentally ill. According to the text on page 1 paragraph 1 the narrator states “But why will you say i am mad?” He explains how he “isn’t mad” but then proceeds to talk about how much he hates his roommate because his eye looked like the vulture's eye also referred to as the “evil eye”. Later on in the story on the last few pages, he tells us how he hid the poor old man’s body under the wooden planks “I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber…”(Poe 4). Who puts the body of someone under the wooden floor where they live? The smell would just be awful. The narrator definitely is insane and needs to get help. On the same page, the narrator then describes how he cut up the different limbs of the old man's body. “I cut off the head and the arms and the legs”(Poe 4). He cut up the old man's body and scattered them all under the wooden plank and then proceeded to lie to the police when they arrived at his house. He then confronted himself to the police when they were exiting his house. Some may say that he was just angry or under the influence. But in reality you have to be insane to kill somebody just because of one imperfection that one human being dislikes. Overall, in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator is mentally insane and doesn’t know how to cope with his anger. The narrator is unreliable and you cannot trust everything that he tells you.
The narrator of the text “The Tell-Tale Heart” is insane because he is unable to tell what is right and what is wrong. When he was discussing the way he covered up the murder, he described it as if it was a good thing. He made it clear that he was proud of himself and that he thought what he was doing was right. The narrator states “ I then replaced the boards so clever, so cunningly, yet no human eye - not even his - could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out- no stain of any kind- no blood- spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all- ha! ha!” The fact that he considers what he did clever and cunning shows that he doesn't see any fault in what he did. Any sane person would see that covering up a murder is indeed wrong. Unlike the narrator who assumed covering up a murder is something to brag about.
First, horror is developed in “The Tell Tale Heart” by the insanity of the narrator. The narrator believes he is a sane person, but contradicted himself when he kills the old man. This creates a complex in the character’s mind. When the police shows because the neighbors heard a yell, he begins to hear the old man’s heartbeat, but his guilt consumes him and he confesses to murdering the old man and putting his body underneath the floorboards. Also, in the beginning of the story, the narrator describes why he wants to kill the old man. “It was impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night” (Para. 2). His insane idea of killing the old man because of his vulture eye pops into his thoughts without a preconceived notion of doing so. The murder is premeditated and thought out as each night he cracks the door open and glares the lantern directly at the vulture eye. The insanity of the narrator develops “The Tell Tale Heart” into horror.
Lastly we have the preparation for the murders. The Tell Tale Heart did not have a very good plan when it came to the killing. The killer just got very lucky that there was no blood or evidence. In the Cask of Amontillado the killer had a very elaborate plan. Take the victim to the crypt, get him drunk and then chain him to the wall. Then he would suffocate him.
Some critics argue that Tell-Tale Heart is merely a “tale of conscience“(enotes). The narrator heard the heart beat so loud because he was aware of what he had done. After he