Unreliable Narrator In The Tell Tale Heart

1057 Words 5 Pages
According to Poe, a story achieves its unity by enforcing a single emotional effect on the reader. In the Tell Tale Heart, Poe achieves the single effect of terror on the reader by his use of all the story’s components. In the short story, an unknown narrator with credence that he is not suffering from insanity, in view of the fact of how carefully he plans a murder, deteriorates from the thought of the “vulture” eye of an innocent old man. The narrator’s pathological time stretch of observing the man for a week consumes him, until he decides to disconnect the man’s limbs, enshroud his body under the floorboards of the house, and is able to conceal the psychotic homicide from the police. Despite being able to calmly discuss the plot of his …show more content…
Since the narrator is someone who is untrustworthy, the story being in the first person point of view allows for no confirmation of reliability. Without corroboration from an additional chronicler, the reader is left unbeknownst if the information is verifiable. The unreliable narrator of the story compels readers and instills trepidation. “The young man’s reason to commit the crime does not respond to economic profit or sudden choleric outburst, but it rather arises as a result of a more complex and intricate motivation” (Miquel). The fact that the narrator could be insane causes uncertainty of whether what is said holds truth. Hallucinations may be occurring to the narrator, causing him to truly believe what he is telling the readers is accurate. An unreliable narrator uses the scare factor technique of the nagging knowledge that oneself could possibly begin to suffer from similar signs of insanity as the narrator. The simplicity of the onset of experiencing a psychotic breakdown builds up fear for oneself. Losing one’s sanity causes tremendous amounts of terror to fuse through a person just at the thought of it. The fear of one’s loss of identity and irregular brain function causes one to tremble during Poe’s story. The use of tone throughout the story reinforces the feelings of terror and fear. The tone of melancholy forces trepidation on the reader. Poe desires the reader to feel pity for the narrator. The narrator’s nervousness is found in every line, beginning from the very first line of the story. “True! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am” (Poe). The man suffers from uncontrollable diseases of the mind, to the point of being oblivious about the debilitation. He is in a constant state of nervousness and stress. In the tone, Poe hopes readers discover the less apparent side of the narrator, instead of seeing

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