Paranoia in Prose An analytical treatment of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”

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In Edgar Allan Poe’s classic work, “The Tell-Tale Heart” we meet an unnamed, gender neutral, narrator who presents a story of madness in the first person. I suspect this ambiguity with gender was purposeful on Poe’s part so as not to allow any preconceived notions about the motives that the narrator may have. For my purposes, I will assume the narrator is male. This narrator lives with an old man whom he claims to have a genuine love and respect for. It soon, however, becomes alarming clear the narrator is mad. What follows is my analytical review of this characters mental state. (Poe) The first hint that something is awry with our narrator is when he relates that he has suffered from some malady which goes without added…show more content…
Perhaps he feels the only way to escape this predator is to kill it. Then to give further evidence that he has no motive other than to get away from the cold gaze of the eye, he suggests that he has no interest in the old man’s wealth when he says that “for his gold, I had no desire.” Once again, this leads me to the conclusion that he is mad since there is no worldly motive to harm the man and there is nothing the man can do about the condition of his eye. It seems an odd juxtaposition to be willing to hurt someone that you also love. This is a theme common to many cultures. There are numerous accounts of people doing horrible things to those that mean the most to them. It could that Poe was trying to show how this sort of violence against what we hold most dear is self-harming. I am forced to wonder if this eye is so disturbing, why he would not just leave the residence. This would be a simple, safe, and logical solution. Of course, logic is not in the toolkit for our narrator as we will continue to discover. (Poe) As the story progresses, I’m struck by his contradictory use of terms. For instance, when he talks of thrusting his head through an opening in the door, and at the same time claims that it took a full hour to do so. The narrator sees no logical conflict in these two terms anymore than he sees a conflict in killing someone that you love. I believe that this is still more evidence
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