Schizophrenia In The Tell-Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

Decent Essays
A man named David Berkowitz was a diagnosed schizophrenic who killed six people in the 1970’s because his dog told him to do it. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1893 and narrated in the first person by a man who tries to justify his sanity while plotting to kill a man. The Narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart explains why he wants to kill this man, how he plans on doing it, and why he ends up confessing, all while showing signs of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis in which the person may have difficulty distinguishing between reality and non-reality. The narrator is an untrustworthy author due to his clear case of mental illness. No sane person would believe that a man who acts and thinks the way…show more content…
According to S. Locke in Unbalanced: A View From The Vestibule - Schizophrenia And Hyperattention catatonic behavior is less frequent now than in the past. (33). This would show that the narrator’s catatonic behavior would be seen more at the time Poe wrote this story than today. Catatonic behavior can either make the affected person become extremely frozen in nature, or on the flip side, become extremely hyperactive. “In the Tell-Tale Heart the narrator shows sign of both in two different instances. The first time the narrator showed a symptom of being catatonic was after he snuck into the old man’s room in an extremely slow fashion. It’s evident that the narrator was moving slow when he said “a watch’s minute hand moved faster than mine did” (Poe, 48-49). The narrator then made the mistake of wakening the old man to which the old man jumped out of bed and cried out asking who was there. This scared the narrator to which he said “I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle” (Poe 63-64). The second instance of catatonic behavior was at the very end of the story when the narrator explains talking to the policemen and hearing a noise grow louder and louder. The narrator perceived the sound as the beating man’s heart and as his nerves grew so too did his movement. For example, the narrator says, “but the noise steadily increased… I paced the floor to and fro with heavy…show more content…
The narrator tries to justify killing someone over the way their eye made him feel. Any normal human being reading this story knows that the narrator being sane is impossible. In The Tell-Tale Heart the narrator expressed that before his paranoia got the best of him he was actually affectionate of the old man. The narrator showed this affection for the old man when he said “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me.” (Poe, 7). The fact that the narrator thought of the old man as family and then turned around and killed him shows you how severe this disease is and the lengths it can take people. According to Understanding Schizophrenia no two people who suffer form schizophrenia are alike and the one of the most important factors to take towards recovery is to learn about schizophrenia and how to prevent and managing this condition. The scary reality is that schizophrenia and mental illness affect many people worldwide. Understanding Schizophrenia says that there over twenty million individuals worldwide who suffer from schizophrenia. In the United States alone, there are more than two million individuals living with schizophrenia. With such high amount of sufferers there are many organizations that can provide the necessary information and support (Reddy,
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