preview

The Guilt Of Murder In Edgar Allen Poe's Tell-Tale Heart

Decent Essays
When people commit murder, they try to justify their actions with logical reasons for doing so. However, if the reasons are not valid, they try to convince themselves that they are. The short story “Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe describes the actions of an unknown narrator who cunningly murders an elderly man at midnight because of his vulture eye. The narrator recounts the confidence in his finesse of the concealment of the body until he hears the first unperceived thumping of the dead man’s heart, driving him to confess to the police. His frantic attempts to convince the reader of his justification of the murder and that he is not insane creates suspense that leaves the reader at the edge of their seats at the moment of his…show more content…
One might object here that the narrator lacked the mental capacity to distinguish right from wrong. The claim of mental insanity could be supported by the narrator’s abnormal hearing of the dead old man’s heart thumping. “...but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew-louder-louder-louder!” (Poe). It is correct that normal people do not hear dead people’s hearts beating, however, what he likely heard was the sound of his own heart ringing loudly in his ears due to his guilty conscience.
The various instances where the narrator described how afraid he felt when staring at the man’s vulture eye specifies that he indeed did have a motive to kill the old man. In the beginning, he stated that he cared for the old man, but his eye that resembled a vulture frightened him. “...his blood ran cold” (Poe). His obvious discomfort and contempt when looking at the eye irked him so much that he killed the elderly man to purge the mere thought of the evil eye from his mind. To add on, every night for eight nights, he would sneak into the old man’s room to wait for the quintessential time to commit the final deed of killing him. However, the narrator had to wait several days to strike because as the old man was sleeping, his eye was not open and his eye was the true object that vexed him. “...but I found the eye always closed...it was impossible to do the work” (Poe). On the eighth night, the old man heard a noise, making
Get Access