Regret In The Tell Tale Heart

1258 Words 6 Pages
“It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.” This is a quote from former track and field Olympian, Jackie Joyner-Kersee. In other words, by preparing and staying determined to accomplish a goal, one won’t regret a thing. But is this always the case? How much time and effort is considered to be fully prepared for something? Is it possible for someone to get too caught up in preparation and emotion to forget all means of reality? In The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator did just that; he spent hours upon hours planning out the murder of an old man (that he says he cared about very much) all because his eye annoyed and aggravated him. The narrator then successfully kills the man while the old man was sleeping. …show more content…
There is a specific reason to why the narrator lets himself get carried away by his emotions, and that could the time of the murder: midnight. As it clearly states in the short story, “and every night about midnight I turned the latch of [the old man’s] door and opened it on, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and the thrust in my head” (1). From this information it is proven that the narrator tends to become a different person at night and this is why he is only willing to kill the old man at midnight. An example of this change would be, “and every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber and spoke courageously to [the old man], calling him by name in a heart tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night, So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept” (1). What this goes to show is just how different the narrator is during daytime. He is kind and respectful to the old man when he is awake, but creepy and dangerous by the time the sun comes down for the day. Midnight is often known as the “witching hour.” It is a creepy time of day where mischief and crime happens. Therefore, the mood of the story is creepy and chilling. Nightfall can symbolize how something can do a lot to a man, and it …show more content…
The narrator didn’t realize it, but the heartbeat inside his head was trying to tell him something and that led to guilt and regret. “The old man’s terror must have been extreme! [The beating] grew louder, I say, louder every moment! -- do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am” (2). This shows just how nervous and confused the narrator is. He thinks that the noise is the old man’s heartbeat (and not his own), yet he is still extremely anxious. Therefore, the antagonist, as well as the protagonist, in The Tell-Tale Heart is the narrator, or better yet, the narrator’s conscience. This is because he is faced with an internal conflict, which is himself. Two sides of his thoughts end up tearing him apart. In the end, however, the narrator's guilt wins the battle of his decision to kill the man and he ends up revealing his crime to the police. An example of this would be, “I could bear those hypocritical smiles [of the police] no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! -- and now -- again -- hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! -- ‘Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit to the deed! -- tear up the planks! -- here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous heart!’” (4). In other words, eventually, the narrator’s conscience and real emotions caught up to him after this big adrenaline rush of the murder. Therefore, he felt guilty of the deed and confessed to the

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