The Tell-Tale Heart Character Analysis

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The Tell-Tale Heart Character Analysis

By | October 2012
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Character Analysis – “The Tell-Tale Heart”
“The Tell-Tale Heart” is a gothic fiction short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. It follows the tale of a crazed Killer, as he plots the demise of the old man he lives with. He is mentally and physically ill, and cannot seem to tell the difference between the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’ aspect of the story. Driven by obsession, and the constant denial of being a ‘madman’, the character proves to be a perverse, calculating and attentive character whose morals are not in the right place.

A point in the story that came across as odd was the the killer’s inability to process the difference between real and unreal. An example of this is when the police come to the killer’s home. At first, the killer talks with ease but when he hears what he believes to be the beating of the old man’s heart, he starts talking more vehemently and eventually confesses to the murder of the old man. With the way the story is relayed it is hard to decipher whether the killer is simply imagining the beating of the heart, due to how guilt ridden he is or rather he is mistaking the beating of his own heart for the beating of the old man’s heart. Either way, this shows the characters inability to process real and unreal occurrences, adding to the fact the the killer is indeed a madman. In the story, the narrator kills the old man simply to be from of the influence of his eye. It was probably very hard to kill him, because he “loved the old man” (Poe104). Killing him was presumably the only way for the narrator to rid himself of the eye. Even under these circumstances, the narrator still seems abnormal and frightening. He seems to enjoy spying on the old man for the eight nights prior to the murder, as brought apparent by the lines, “I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph, to think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts” (Poe105). This proves the narrator to be...

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