Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 and after his parents died before his 3rd birthday, Poe went to live with a man named John Allan in Richmond, Virginia.
Poe’s teenage years were filled with turmoil and by the time he was an adult, he had fallen into alcoholism, just like his birth father (Wilson 344).
After Poe’s death in 1849, he was criticized for the dark themes of his book. However, today Poe is considered to be the a profound author in the genres of horror and psychological thrillers (Wilson 344).
Edgar Allan Poe’s well known short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is both a psychological thriller and a horror story.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator kills the old …show more content…
The narrator’s obsession with time stems from his insanity, as he believes he can prove he is not crazy by showing how meticulous he is. In addition, his guilt and blame stems from his mental illness, as he tries to explain why he irrationally wants to murder an old man who has never done him harm. This leads to him blaming the old man’s eye, as well as his heartbeat, for why he needs to kill him.
The narrator’s insanity in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a controlling theme throughout the entire short story, as it leads to all of the events that occur in the story.
Body Paragraph #2- Time
In addition to using symbolism and contradiction in “The Tell-Tale Heart” to further the theme of insanity, Edgar Allan Poe also uses those literary devices to advance the central theme of time.
From the very beginning of the short story, the narrator, who is not given a name, is very focused on what time different events occur at at and the length of time it takes him to complete different tasks.
Throughout this story the heartbeat that the narrator often hears is symbolic of time passing and getting closer to death (May, “Overview”). This detail is especially evident in the moments leading up the death of the old man. During this occurrence, the heartbeat got faster and louder the closer it was to the death of the old …show more content…
The foremost reason the narrator gives for killing the old man is his vulture-like eye. Throughout the story the narrator reiterates how much he cannot stand the eye and that it is the reason he needs to kill the old man, so he can get rid of the eye (Wilson 346). However, the narrator blaming the eye is just an instance him trying to rest the blame of murder on something other than his insanity. Since he harbors no ill-will towards the old man, he needs something to blame for the need he feels to kill the old man, so the narrator blames the old man’s eye (Zimmerman).
Another vital instance of the narrator placing blame for the murder on something other than his insanity is in the moments leading up to the old man’s death. While the narrator had planned to kill the old man that night, he was just waiting for the right moment (“The Tell-Tale Heart”). This moment came when the old man’s heartbeat, which was really the narrator’s since they are the same person, got too loud and the narrator was afraid the neighbors would hear. In that moment, the narrator, angry at the idea of the neighbors hearing “threw open the lantern, sprang into the room with a yell, dragged the old man to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed cover over on him,” thus killing him (Howard