AJessica Leon Leon 1
October 3, 2011
In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Tall Tale Heart, the narrator considers himself to be sane although this is in direct opposition to the story he tells us which proves to us that he is mentally ill. He can calmly recite a story so therefore considers himself to be sane, but the story is of how he murdered and innocent man. He concocted a plan to murder the old man for no reason other than his “evil eye”, something he believes a true mad man would have never been able to pull off. And he believes he can hear things everyone else can’t, like the heart beat of a dead man.
The narrator begins the story by defending his mental state. He tells us that he has some sort of disease which causes him to be nervous. He doesn’t go into much detail about it but he does mention it causes hypersensitivity in his senses. He then goes on to argue that if the disease had really made him insane he wouldn’t be able to tell us the story in such a calm manner. He uses this as a way to attempt to convince us that he is in fact mentally stable. “How, then am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”(page 1) Obviously this is not the normal behavior of someone who is sane, there is no remorse in his tone and he treats “accomplishments”
The narrator completely disregards the fact that he has murdered the old man; he just simply believes he is sane because he was able to derive and execute such a well developed and skilled plan to murder him. “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me, you should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with what caution—with what foresight – with what dissimulation I went to work!”(page 2). In reality the narrator does sound extremely mentally disturbed because he has...