Insanity In The Tell Tale Heart

Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Tell-Tale Heart” and this is a short story narrative told by the narrator describing a murder that he commits. The narrator is trying to `explain how he is sane but has over-acuteness of senses. He lives with an old man who has a vulture-like eye that drives the narrator to kill the old man. The narrator watches the old man for 7 days, and, on the 8th night, when he accidently wakes the old man, and reveals his vulture eye, the narrator attacks and smothers the old man to death. Then he dismembers the body and hides it under the floorboards of the house. The police show up, and the narrator acts as if northing had happened and proud of his achievement. But his acute senses allow him to continue hearing the old …show more content…
His dissimulation is already a strong influence and now his insanity is what takes over. As he is telling the story of how he killed the man, his insanity intensifies as the story goes along. In the beginning, the narrator explains, “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded – with what caution – with what foresight – with what dissimulation I went to work!” (Poe 767). The narrator believes that because of how brilliant this plan turns out, he in not insane, but brilliant. The narrator has signs of madness but he says that the signs are caused by nervousness and oversensitivity, such as his hearing. His oversensitivity goes on to make everyone believe that the narrator is hearing multiple sounds that are not possible to hear. The narrator knows the old man’s thoughts and can still hear his heart after he was murdered. The thoughts and heart sounds that he hears are not average noises that everybody hears, especially being able to hear the old man’s heart. The narrator gives information that cannot possibly be true, leading the readers to understand the narrator’s mind. As shown by a Comprehensive Research, “He cares not whether the reader knows how horribly he stalked his victim, since in the narrator’s eyes this is merely proof of his rationality, methodical planning, and precision” (Bloom 41). An …show more content…
Right as the story begins, it is evident that the author is insane, “TRUE! – NERVOUS – VERY, VERY DREADFULLY nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad”(Poe 767). As explained by the Comprehensive Research and Study Guide, “His protestion is from the first one of sanity, not of innocence” (Bloom 40). These statements are for the narrator’s self-defense, not to prove his innocence but to prove he is sane. The narrator tells the story but it is unreliable since the use of dissimulation is very prominent. Dissimulation was one of the narrator’s strongest tools to get away with murder, but his insanity ended up being the reason for murder and the reason for the narrator’s downfall. It led to his oversensitivity and created an area for him to tell the police the dead that he did. The insanity and the old man’s eye motivated his actions and allowed the whole story to play out as it did. Without the eye his insanity may have never been pushed over the edge, and without his insanity the eye would have never bothered the narrator. The narrator’s insanity became him and in the end caused murder and the crime to be

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