Everyone Else is Pleading Insanity, Why can’t I?
If one were to say that Edgar Allan Poe is a good writer, he or she is making an understatement of his work. He is one of the most critically acclaimed writers of all time. His stories have put him in a category of notoriety that also includes, Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, and Earnest Hemingway, just to name a few. Poe is most widely known for his unique obsessively dark, or gothic horror stories. To many, he is considered to be the “grandfather” of present- day horror. His writing shows that he is familiar with the thought process of a madman, leaving some to believe that he himself was in fact insane, but if he were, could he have the ability to describe such dark thoughts and deeds in detailed graphic account? Most of Poe’s short stories revolve around death, gloom and the mental state of his main character/characters. More often than not, the main character of his stories is thought to have a certain degree of insanity. The “Tell- Tale Heart” does not disappoint. The story follows the formula that Edgar Allan Poe perfected: death, gloom, and mental instability. Some believe it is the narrator’s insanity that causes him to dismember the old man into several pieces and place him under the floorboards while others question whether or not the main character was really insane. In order for one to be able to come to a plausible conclusion concerning the mental health of the unnamed narrator one must know what insanity is, the medical definition of insanity, and compare both definitions to the mental state of the narrator in the story. So what exactly is insanity? The word insanity was actually termed by lawyers within the legal profession. Insanity is a relatively new defense in the United States, as it was not practiced until around 1849, the time that Edgar Allan wrote the story “The Tell Tale Heart”. Around the time the story was written there were many cases in America being tried where the...
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