Rhetoric and Composition
4 October 2013
In Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” an unnamed narrator tells his story of how “he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man.” There are many ways to analyze this poem, but one thing is certain, the narrator is not sane. The narrator claims to have no quarrel with the old man, but he despised the old man’s “pale blue eye.” Although this is normal what the narrator did at night was not. “Every night, he went to the old man’s apartment and secretly observed the old man sleeping. In the morning, he would behave as if everything were normal.” He invaded the privacy of the old man because he intended on killing him while he slept. However, his quarrel was not with the man, as mentioned before, but it was the old man’s eye he hated. The narrator could have simply avoided the old man, and simply not looked at his eye. Normal stalkers follow someone because they are temporarily mesmerized by their beauty or they have a grudge against them. The narrator stalked this man daily because he did not like the way his eye looked. When the sleeping man woke, the house was silent, but the narrator could hear the beating of the old man’s heart. The narrator stated, “this excited me to uncontrollable terror.” Not only did this show how anxious the narrator was to harm the old man, but also how trilled he was about severing his eye. As the man’s heart beat got stronger his excitement grew and after he killed the man “he smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.” Some kill because they have to defend themselves, their loved ones, or their morals. The narrator did not have to kill the old man, nor was he was not sad about killing him. In fact the narrator was thrilled to have killed him and he smiled at the old man’s dead corpse. Finally, the police showed up and confronted the narrator about the shriek that the neighbors heard, but the narrator plays it cool, giving the police a tour...
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