Macbeth vs the Tell-Tale Heart

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart, Macbeth Pages: 2 (534 words) Published: March 18, 2011
The argument that Robert McIlvaine brings forth is a valid one. It seems as if Edgar Allen Poe wrote the story “The Tell-Tale Heart” with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in mind. There are interesting parallel structures in Edgar Allen Poe’s writing that corresponds to Shakespeare’s play making the themes between the two pieces of writing similar. Shakespeare is a world renowned playwright whose work is exemplary. His work is used worldwide as an example of great writing and many stories have been sampled from his plays. It is not uncommon for a writer to quote or to compare literature to Shakespeare’s work. His work is the highest standard that everyone compares to so there is a high possibility that Edgar Allen Poe studied his writing and had a desire to compose a story similar to his. Furthermore, the theme of desire to kill is prominent in both the play and in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth has the desire to kill King Duncan in order to gain power. In Poe’s story, the narrator has a desire to kill the old man. In both instances, they succeed in the murder. The narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart propels himself towards killing the old man for his personal reasoning. In Macbeth, it is Lady Macbeth who drives Macbeth to kill King Duncan. The difference is that Lady Macbeth is pushing Macbeth to kill. However, this is not directly done for her own sake, but for Macbeth to gain power. In The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator empowers himself without help of any sort. Another parallel between the two is regret after sinning. Lady Macbeth goes insane and begins to sleepwalk, and although not written, it is thought that she killed herself. In Edgar Allen Poe’s story, the narrator less drastically, goes insane from the thoughts of murder in his mind. He then comes clean and pulls out the body of the victim proving himself guilty in front of the authorities. The fear of discovery is present in the two readings. After the murder is done, in The Tell-Tale Heart, he...
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