Tell Tale Heart Literary Devices

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“The Tell Tale Heart”, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe which details the murder of an innocent old man with a “vulture” like eye that infuriates the unnamed narrator; he describes with a joyous excitement, the planning and execution of the killing as well as the hiding of the corpse in the floorboards. Poe uses literary devices such as authorial intrusion, italics, and cacophony to create a manic voice for the narrator. Authorial intrusion, which is uncommon in most works of contemporary fiction, is arguably the most important literary device Poe uses to construct the narrator’s manic voice. Though the entire story is written as a confessional, the unnamed chronicler frequently interrupts his recount to attempt to convince the reader that he actually isn’t insane. After explaining his egregious crime along with the motivation; the narrator proceeds to state “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me” (92). These erratic sentences interrupt the flow of the writing but are extremely important in developing the narrator's voice as it further Following the quote he explains the methodical lengths he went through; lengths that only an absolute psychopath would find rational, and attempts to justify them as his own cunning intellect rather than an insatiable desire to kill. He reiterates a similar variation of this sentence multiple times throughout his recounting of the events, “If you still think me mad, you will think so no longer” (95) and “have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?” (94), which again helps to reinforce this idea that the narrator is truly unaware of his own madness. Poe’s masterful use of italics is essential to the development of the manic voice of the narrator. The italics flawlessly mimic the actual voice of a deranged person depicted in the story to create an audible voice within the reader's mind. One instance is when the narrator is describing his feelings the night of the killing, “Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers—of my sagacity” (93). Though only one word is italicized, that word serves to convey the raw emotion felt by the narrator in this moment, as he once again puts himself on a
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