Conflict Analysis of "Tell-Tale Heart"

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Julian Jacobs
Period 2
Formal Papers: Short Story Unit: Plot

An insane, unreliable narrator is tortured by the film over his master’s eye. Tormented to the breaking point, the man murders his master. This is the out-of-control conflict created in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, “Tell-Tale Heart.” The main external conflicts the narrator faces are the eye and police, and the internal conflicts are the beating heart and his denial of mental stability.

The narrator cant stand his master’s eye. He claims, “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold…” (358), and soon decides,” … I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (358). This eye bugs the narrator to the point in which he feels he needs to “rid myself of the eye forever.” He soon completes this task by brutally exterminating the old man. During the murder, though, the old man gives a shriek that causes the neighbors to alert the authorities.“… suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises” (360). The narrator must convince the authorities that he had not committed the crime. He succeeds in doing so, but decides to confess.

After the authorities came, the narrator hears the annoying sound of the thumping heart. The beating heart is induced upon the narrator internally, due to the guilt he feels from committing the murder. “ I admit the deed!- tear up the planks! - here, here!- It is the beating of his hideous heart!” (361). As the remorse peaks, the narrator can not handle it anymore, and soon confesses to the crime. Primarily, the narrator strains to convince the reader he is a sane individual, even when he knows he is not. The reader can sense, due to narrators desperate reasoning, that he completely understands his unstable sanity, and his persistence in lying to both the reader and himself.

“ In the enthusiasm of my...
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