The Tell-Tale Heart Analysis

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Neil Young, The Tell-Tale Heart Pages: 3 (871 words) Published: September 21, 2013
Literary Analysis/Fiction Essay
ENG102-51-Fall2013
September 6, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe is definitely one of the most renowned writers in the history of American fictitious writing. His dark stories lead readers to question whether they locked their doors tight enough before going to bed, and cause a need to double check around every corner before walking any further. The Tell-Tale Heart is a great example of his chilling writing abilities. The main character claims that he is not insane, but his actions argue otherwise. Is this man truly sick, however, or was it necessary that the old man’s evil eye be vanquished before it could cause tangible harm? This story uses epic symbolism and great character irony to answer this daunting question.

The story focuses on the skewed thoughts of the young murderer as he plots and carries out his homicidal plan. As said before, he claims he is perfectly sane, but the evil eye wishes him harm. He does, however, admit to having a condition that allowed him to hear exceptionally well, “The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them…I heard all things in the heaven and in the Earth. I heard many things in hell,” (634). By this confession, it is obvious that he is not completely lucid. Later on, he states that he, “… loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult,” (634). Why would a person, such as this man, desire to kill someone who had never caused him harm—had even loved? It is nonsensical! This man’s argument for sanity became completely invalid after uttering that very sentence. “I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever,” (635). Inopportunely, the old man’s condition damned him to rot beneath the floor boards until some poor soul was unfortunate enough to stumble upon his lovely bones. This story uses subtle irony to end the tale. When preparing for the kill, the narrator claimed to hear the old man’s heart from across the...
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