The Tell-Tale Heart

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Confession of a Remorseful Murderer Psychology has developed our understanding of human behavior, not just in reality, but also in works of fiction. In the short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe, in first person, the un-named narrator/protagonist has been trying to convince whoever is listening to him that he is not crazy. He openly admits a crime he had committed; murdering an elderly man that lived with him over something that was not the elderly man's fault. Stating that the reason was because the man was blind in one eye, the protagonist thought that was a valid reason why he had attempted such a heinous crime. The protagonist waited over a week before taking action. After killing the elderly man, the protagonist hid the …show more content…
His eye made the protagonist feel anxious whenever he saw it. The dedication that the protagonist put into premeditating the elderly man’s end, is showing how quick tempered the id is because the protagonist does not care about the consequences in the end. He is acting in the moment without rationally thinking. Poe writes, "And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it....It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed" ("Tell" 1). Poe uses foreshadowing that helps explain the urge that the protagonist has in the killing of the old man. In Freudian belief this shows that the id is involved with irrational thinking, and how the ego and the superego were neglected and ignored by the protagonist. The time and patience he displays in the killing of the old man, meant a lot at the time the idea was conceived. With his dedication the protagonist was able to complete the task and succeed in his mission. In doing so the price that came with the murder was unbearable for him in the end. The only time the protagonist was able to come to his senses was when the ego (antagonist “heart beat”) and the superego (the police), were able to gain control of his feelings. The id cannot run rampant forever, it is inevitable that eventually the ego and superego will take control again. Foreshadowing is one of the huge …show more content…
While the story ended on a suspenseful note, not giving any falling action, the punishment of the protagonist remains unknown. It is implied that the protagonist would be arrested but any other further knowledge of the punishment for him, remains unknown. The protagonist’s ultimate punishment though, is when he succumbs to his guilt and has his mental break down and confession in front of the police. The Freudian lens works best with viewing the short story in a different way and giving insight to a meaning that could be over looked. By showing a psychological aspect to the story it opens up a new world in which all things were influenced heavily by an unreliable narrator who was suffering from something bigger than he could

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