The Tell Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

Decent Essays

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story told by an unnamed narrator, who attempts to convince the reader that he is sane, while describing the events leading up to murdering an old man. Through the use of symbolism, imagery and irony, Poe reveals the thoughts of the narrator while he is recalling the events of the old man. The story starts off with the remarks of “TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am” by the narrator. This remark can be inferred as an answer to a question just asked. Although the reader is given no information on what is going on around the narrator, it can be surmised that the narrator is about to confess his story to a judge, or therapist. The word “TRUE!” already acts a confession to the murder. He is not propelled to prove his innocence, but moved to prove his sanity. “why will you say that I am mad?...I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth.” Those two assertions alone begin to reveal his paranoia and will lead to “hearing” the dead old man’s heart beating. He follows these statements with detailed evidence of what happened before and after the murder. “You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.” While he attempts to provide rational explanations of his irrational thinking, he is ultimately admitting to murder. The story never

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