The Tell-Tale Heart Essay

834 WordsFeb 13, 20124 Pages
The Tell-Tale Heart Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart is a story that recounts the killing of an old man, told through the first person narrative of the murderer. Although the narrator claimed to have loved the old man, he was tormented by “one of his eyes which resembled that of a vulture.” It was through his quest to eradicate the “vulture eye” that ultimately led to the slaying of the old man. Upon reading this story, it is whether or not the narrator can be relied on for an accurate account of what happened, that is in question. His great detail of the occurrences surrounding and leading up to the murder, along with his need to confess the deed validates the truth to his portrayal of the incident, proving the narrator to be a reliable source. The narrator takes readers through his version of the murderous happenings, in an effort to convince his audience that he is not a mad man. While unable to prove his sanity through his detailed descriptions, he inadvertently proves his reliability. He admits only to being nervous, questioning “why WILL you say that I am mad?” He believed a disease had sharpened his senses, especially his hearing. He proclaimed to hear “everything in heaven and in earth, even many things in hell.” Obviously acute senses like this are unheard of, yet he follows these claims with a request that the reader “observe how healthily, how calmly,” he can tell the entire story. Continuing on, he tells the reader how wisely he proceeded in the seven days leading up to the old mans death with such caution, foresight, and dissimulation. While recalling his acts of the eighth night, the narrator again makes impossible claims, yet gives details of which only someone who was in fact there could have known. With a lantern in hand, he began his intrusion of the old man’s room at midnight. He believed that he moved with such stealth that a

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