Monsters In The Tell-Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

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Watch out! Under your bed, in your closet, in your dreams and thoughts lie the monsters of the world. Monsters in human society play a big role in culture because they include all the deepest and darkest fears that cultivate in people’s minds to some of the happiest thoughts and desires. The definition of a monster can expand from being a large disgusting creature with copious amounts of teeth to an outcast who doesn’t fit in with society. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, a PhD graduate from Harvard University, created the seven theses of monsters which classifies and explains monsters fairly well. Edgar Allan Poe wrote the story titled “The Tell-Tale Heart” which tells the tale of a deranged man who kills an older man because of his heart and “Evil Eye”. …show more content…
The reason that Poe’s narrator isn’t a monster is because of Cohen’s third thesis which states that the monster is the harbinger of a category crisis. For example, Cohen states that “They are disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration” (Cohen 6). Monsters according to Cohen always escape because they are so terrifying of humans that they don’t want to be classified nor categorized which causes them to escape judgment from humans. To sharpen this argument, in Poe’s story the narrator quotes that “I admit the deed! – tear up the planks! – here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous heart!” (Poe 4). According to Cohen, monsters would run away or try some way to escape but, instead the narrator admits to the police of his terrifying and inhumane act. The beating of the old man’s heart caused the narrator to go crazy which forced him to turn himself in. A monster would normally leave the scene like Frankenstein’s creature does when he hears angry villagers approaching but, the narrator stays and gets categorized as a murderer, which according to Cohens’ seven thesis’, makes Poe’s narrator not fit the criteria of a …show more content…
Poe’s narrator goes against this thesis because he turns himself in to the police at the end of the story. For example, in Cohen’s seven theses, it states in his second thesis that “The monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear somewhere else” (Cohen 4). Monsters according to Cohen represent something culturally whether it be sexuality, hate, or death, etc.… An example, according to Cohen, is that like Dracula, “The anxiety that condenses like green vapor into the form of a vampire can be dispersed temporarily, but the revenant by definition returns” (Cohen 5). Sexuality is a big part of human nature so whenever Dracula gets killed, he always shows up later in some other clothing and form. Monsters always leave/reappear so they don’t get caught by humans. To prove that Poe’s narrator isn’t a monster, he says “But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt I must scream or die!” (Poe 4). Poe’s narrator can’t withstand the agony of the old man’s beating heart and the whole situation so he turns himself in to the police. Using the Seven Theses of Monsters as a framework, Poe’s narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” doesn’t fit the criteria because he chooses to

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