A Tell Tale Heart - 1

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Mind, Insanity defense Pages: 2 (712 words) Published: December 9, 2012
Psychologytoday.com defines insanity as “ mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” Legaldictionary.com goes on to say “It may be considered in a threefold point of view: A chronic disease, manifested by deviations from the healthy and natural state of the mind, such deviations consisting in a morbid perversion of the feelings, affections and habits; Disturbances of the intellectual faculties, under the influence of which the understanding becomes susceptible of hallucinations or erroneous. Impressions of a particular kind; and A state of mental incoherence or constant hurry and confusion of thought”. These definitions have a direct correlation to the main character in the short story “A Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. “A Tell Tale Heart” is a short story of a man that is obsessed with an old man who has a blue eye that he believes is evil. He watches the elderly man for several days claiming his life on the eighth day and chopping his body up and hiding it in the floorboards of the old mans room. Through the main characters narration of the story he pleas he is sane because of how well he planned and executed this murder. In fact through his plea of sanity he show how insane he truly is.

In his first sentences of the short story the narrator set the tone of his mental state. He said, “Very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.” In that statement I knew his mental state was questionable. What was this disease he spoke of? How can he hear both things in heaven and in hell? A sane...
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