The Tell-Tale Heart - Essay

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Analysis
The "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a classic example of Poe's unreliable narrator, a man who cannot be trusted to tell the objective truth of what is occurring. His unreliability becomes directly evident in the first paragraph of the story, when he insists on his clearness of mind and features any signs of madness to his nervousness, particularly in the area of hearing. However, as soon as he finishes his statement of sanity, he offers an account that has a series of apparent logical gaps that can only be explained by insanity. In his writings, Poe often sought to capture the state of mind of psychotic characters, and the narrator of this story displays leaps of reasoning that more look like the reason of dreams than they do the thought processes of a normal human being. The narrator's emotional uncertainty provides a clear counterargument to his claims of good judgment. In almost no cases does he respond in the manner that one would expect. He is so bothered by the old man's vulture-like eye that his loathing overcomes his love for the man, leading him to premeditate a murder. Later, when he finally succeeds in killing the victim, he becomes positively cheerful, feeling that he has accomplished his goal cleverly and that he associates with sanity. However, the unsuspecting behavior of the policemen suggests that the narrator has become essentially unaware of his behavior and his surroundings. Because he cannot maintain the distance between reality and his inner thoughts, he mistakes his mental anxiety for physical anxiety and misinterprets the innocent chatter of the policemen for malevolence. Nevertheless, he imagines the whole time that he has correctly and rationally interpreted all the events of the story, suggesting that in Poe's mind, the key to irrationality is the belief in one's rationality. The humor of the narrator's account in "The Tell-Tale Heart" stands that although he proclaims himself designate too calm to be a madman, he is defeated by a...
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