Guilty In Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell Tale Heart

1393 Words 6 Pages
Teagan Hawes
Author’s Craft Essay
In life, humanity needs to see past the surface of others, or they will face the pain of guilt later on. Guilt. This is a word that can weigh down on your shoulders like a 50 pound dumbell. Having a guilty conscience can make one go insane and feel an immense amount of paranoia! This is evident in the short story, “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, where the narrator has an obsession with an old man’s eye--an eye that brought great agony among the narrator whenever he looked upon it. He couldn’t bare seeing that eye any longer, thus, in a merciless manner, he decided to kill the old man because of it. Feeling great remorse by the end of the story, the narrator becomes paranoid and scared. As suggested
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The motivation of a character is like the seed of a plant. Just the small entity within the great stems, which no one can see, is the reason the flower should exist. Without the seed, the plant wouldn’t be able to grow, just like how the conflict couldn’t exist without the motivation, and in this case, no one knows. The text states, “He has 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 eye forever.” This piece of text is significant because according to the narrator, the only reason behind his urge to kill the man was just because of his “vulture eye”, not because of his personality. He describes the man’s eye when he looked as it as if it were Medusa! We wouldn’t know this was his motivation if this story was not told in first person. One would think that he despised the old man because of his actions--but it was just something on the old man’s surface that made the narrator think so poorly of him. First person narration allows the reader to dig deeper into the story, and see the true meaning of scenes, and it allows them to understand the story better. This whole story would have had a different impact on the reader if they hadn’t known the narrator’s motivation for the crime committed. “The Tell Tale …show more content…
The narrator says, “...but the noise steadily grew louder--louder--louder! Was it possible they heard not?--no, no! They heard--they suspected!--they knew!--they were making a mockery of my horror...and now again! Hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!” This passage from the text is impactful because creates a tense mood. Because the reader can see how the narrator is thinking through this time, and how his guilt is getting to his head, it makes the mood tense. Since the narrator is the only person who hears his heart beating, out of paranoia, he believes it is getting louder and louder. Now, it can be inferred that the beating was getting more intense just because he was nervous, but certainly not loud enough for the police officers to hear. Later, The reader wonders if the officers will become suspicious. To compare, think of a time when you were nervous, and you noticed your heart beginning to beat louder every second. Did you feel like others around you could hear it too? There is a likely chance that they couldn’t, and you were just overwhelmed. Additionally, the story states, “And this I did for seven long nights--every night, just at midnight--but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye...every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.” As suggested by the text, this scene clearly

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