The Tell-Tale Heart - Critical Analysis

1277 WordsOct 8, 19996 Pages
Imagine the sight of an old man's eye, vulturous, pale blue, with a film covering it. Could this drive one's self so insane that one would murder a man because of it? This is the event that occurs in Edgar Allen Poe's vivid tale "The Tell-Tale Heart", from the book Designs For Reading: Short Stories. <br> <br>Every night at precisely midnight, the narrator, who remains nameless and sexless, but for the sake of this essay I will refer to as he, ventured into the old man's room without making a sound, to observe the very eye at which the sight of made his blood run cold. The old man did not suspect a thing. During the day the narrator continued to go about his daily routine, and even went so far as to ask the old man every morning if he…show more content…
151). Yet it is obvious by his actions— the fact that he murdered an innocent old man because of his "evil eye"-- that he is neurotic and mentally imbalanced. The narrator's motivation for killing the man is notably obscure. "It is impossible to say how the first idea entered my brain... Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire."(p. 151). The only motivation for killing the man was his deformed eye. <br> <br>Poe's tale is complete with strong foreshadowing, subtle irony, and vivid symbolism. The symbolism and irony lead to an enormously improved story as compared to a story with the same plot but with these two elements missing, while the foreshadowing adds to the suspense. The very first paragraph is full of foreshadowing. "Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell."(p. 151). I believe this foreshadows the fate of the narrator. Although we do not actually find out what happens to him, we know it will be profane. It is also foreshadowing his insane mannerism. Another example of foreshadowing is in the second paragraph, when he says "He had the eye of a vulture— a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees— very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the
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