The Tell-Tale Heart- A Murderous Paranoia.
In the novel, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator is in denial of his own madness and claims throughout the story that he is not insane. The theme of this story is dark and can be attributed to the tragedies Poe experienced in his life. Right from the beginning of the story the narrator tries to convince himself, and the readers that he is not insane. However, he ends up doing the opposite. As the story progresses, he only further justifies that he is a paranoid schizophrenic as he carefully plans the murder of the old man, towards whom he has no animosity. `Only an abnormal person would say something like “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell.”(279). It is common knowledge that such things happen only in ghost stories and that the narrator is extremely unreliable. The Tell-Tale Heart is a story told from the protagonist’s point of view, describing how he stands outside the old man’s bedroom for seven consecutive nights with a lantern. The relationship between the narrator and the old man is not revealed to the readers. A single ray of light emanates from the lantern pointing directly at the sleeping man’s eye, which the narrator refers to as the evil eye. The narrator discloses his insanity through his obsessions including the old man’s evil eye, the old man’s heart and his obsession in trying to substantiate his own sanity. It is safe to say that the protagonist is unquestionably insane when at one point he simply says, “If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body… First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.” Obviously, the narrator is under the undisturbed notion that it’s normal to kill someone and hide the body. Moreover, he is actually proud of his accomplishment and the method that he uses for disposal of...
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