Paranoid Schizophrenia in 'The Tell-Tale Heart'

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Although schizophrenia seems like a rare illness, there are an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States alone who suffer from this disorder (“Schizophrenia” 3). The most common form of this mental illness is paranoid schizophrenia, which is defined as a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality and is preoccupied with delusions (“Mental Health and Schizophrenia” 5). Symptoms of this disorder include auditory hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, anger, emotional distance, violence, argumentativeness, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and self-important or condescending manner. Auditory hallucinations are when one hears sounds, usually voices, that are not real. The voices will give criticisms, insults, and commands (“Paranoid Schizophrenia” 5). Delusions are false beliefs that one refuses to give up despite being proved wrong with facts, a very common one being that someone is out to get the person (“Mental Health and Schizophrenia” 13). However, one could also have delusions of grandeur, which are false impressions of one’s own importance. Delusions can lead to aggression or violence if one believes they must defend themselves against those who want to cause them harm (“Paranoid Schizophrenia” 4). The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” clearly has paranoid schizophrenia because he displays the symptoms of auditory hallucinations, delusions, violence or aggression, and anxiety. The narrator in this story does not hear voices; however, he
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