Essay on The Tell-Tale Heart

852 WordsMar 15, 20134 Pages
Andrew Fiddler Professor Esquivel English 1020 15 February 2013 Themes of “The Tell-Tale Heart” Edgar Allen Poe explores the similarity of love and hate in many stories, especially “The Tell Tale Heart.” In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator confesses a love for an old man whom he then violently murders and dismembers the body and hides the pieces below the floorboards in the bedroom. When the police arrive, the narrator appears normal and unshaken by the murder. Later on, the man gives in to the guilt and cannot withstand knowing anymore and not telling anyone. The narrator reveals his madness by attempting to separate the person of the old man, whom he loves, from the old man’s supposedly evil eye, which triggers the narrator’s…show more content…
The narrator reveals his inability to recognize that the “eye” is the “I,” or identity, of the old man. The eyes symbolize the essence of human identity, which cannot be separated from the body. The eye cannot be killed without causing the man to die. According to the narrator, “For it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye.” (Poe), the eye not the old man haunted him and had to be eliminated. Characterization also helps the reader understand the theme. I think that the narrator is unnamed to give the reader another sense that this whole story could happen to them, or anyone they know. It shows the theme that everyone has an evil side, and although it is hard to admit, all humans are capable of committing a murder such as this. But just like everyone is capable of committing this kind of crime, everyone also feels the guilt after the deed is done. As the story goes on, the readers can see the madness growing in the narrator. At first, he tells the story quite calmly. He even explains that after the murder, he was completely calm with the police officers. The narrator then states “The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them.” (Poe), thinking he could get by with the murder but he could not stand the guilt that came along with it. By the end of the story when he hears the heartbeat, his whole mannerism changes. He is stressed and his words and thoughts come out in a panicked tone. Interestingly, there is only one set of spoken words that the

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