Essay about The Tell-Tale Heart - Critical Analysis

1289 Words Oct 21st, 1999 6 Pages
Imagine the sight of an old man's eye, vulturous, pale blue, with a film covering it. Could this drive one's self so insane that one would murder a man because of it? This is the event that occurs in Edgar Allen Poe's vivid tale "The Tell-Tale Heart", from the book Designs For Reading: Short Stories.
<br>Every night at precisely midnight, the narrator, who remains nameless and sexless, but for the sake of this essay I will refer to as he, ventured into the old man's room without making a sound, to observe the very eye at which the sight of made his blood run cold. The old man did not suspect a thing. During the day the narrator continued to go about his daily routine, and even went so far as to ask the old man every morning if he
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155) became louder and louder, until he could bare it no longer, and he finally shrieked, "Villains! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks!-- here, here! -- It is the beating of his hideous heart."(p. 156).
<br>"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short and to the point story, with every word contributing to the central issue, which combines the narrator's previous terror's, the old man's current terrors, and the terrors for the narrator yet to come. The setting and characters are not the main focus of the story. The setting is basically irrelevant; all that is known is that it is the home of an elderly man in which the narrator is his caretaker, and most of the action occurs each night around midnight. Poe has chosen to be very elusive with these characters. They remain nameless throughout the story, being given only the titles of "the narrator" and "the old man". We're not even sure whether the narrator is male or female. The author uses "I" and "me" in reference to the character, and being male, we assume that the subject is male. Since the story is written in first person point of view, the protagonist is indirectly characterized. One must infer what he is like by what he says and does, although in this example the two are contradicting. The narrator insists that he is not insane. "Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have

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