Telltale Heart

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Aeschylus long ago proclaimed a truth in Ancient Greek times that is still acceptable to say about the present society. He said, “A god implants mortal guilt whenever he wants to utterly confound a house.” This is true for those who commit harmful deeds and expect to feel glory instead of feeling guilty. In other words, those people will surely be surprised to find that guilt is following closely behind, lurking in the dark shadows of their heart. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, presents the reader with a main character much like this. In this story, there is a troubled man who has been stereotyped as a crazy person in the past. However, he insists that he is not; he is simply advanced in his senses. This man lives with an old man whom he loves, but the elderly man’s “vulture eye”, a “pale blue eye with a film over it,” bore into the crazy man’s soul, creating terror within and unsettling him. Thus, over time, the man makes the decision to kill the old man and never see the hideous eye again. Every night for a week, the man sneaks into the old man’s sleeping chamber and tries to find the reason why he is killing him in the first place. However, seeing as though the eye is always shut, the man finds it impossible to commit the crime. On the eighth night, the man accidentally wakes the old man from his slumber and decides it is time to end his life. The police arrive soon after the murder and concealment of the body with suspicions of foul play. With momentary satisfaction, the man assures them there is no reason to worry, but a muffled ticking noise sounds in his ears shortly after this, growing louder and louder with every lie. Unable to bear the sound any longer, the man has no choice but to confess his sins of murdering the old man. Edgar Allan Poe, the author of The Tell-Tale Heart, uses symbolism to reveal a key theme that opens the eyes of the reader; all sinful deeds will indefinitely be consumed by guilt.
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