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The Tell Tale Heart

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A short story I have recentrly read which has an incident or moment of great tension is, "the Tell - Tale Heart," written by Edgar Allen Poe. The short story can produce many different "types" of characters. Usually, these characters are faced with situations that give us an insight into their true "character". The main character of the story is faced with a fear. He is afraid of an Old Man's Eye that lives with him. The actions that this charecter or "man" - as he is known in the story - performs in order to stop his fear can lead others to believe that he suffers from some sort of mental illness. The very fact that this man is so repulsed by the old man's eye, which he refers to as "the evil eye", is reason enough to be suspicious of his character. The man has an inner struggle with the thought that "the evil eye" is watching him and an underlying feeling that "the evil eye" will see the real person that he has become. This paranoia leads the man to believe that the only way he can put down his fears is to kill the old man. It is said that denial is usually the sign of a problem. If this holds true, then the man has the characteristics of a "madman". In the first paragraph, he asks, "but why will you say that I am mad!" This statement can be looked at as a statement made by someone going through a paranoid episode. He talks as if he is in frenzy, especially when he talks about hearing things in heaven and in hell. "The disease had sharpened my senses...Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven...I heard many things in hell." The "disease" that the man is talking about eats away at his conscience

The progression of the story revolves around the actions of the man. He describes the "wise" ways in which he prepares himself to commit this deed. The way the man "stalks" the old man the whole week before he kills him can be a sign of a problem. Every night he would watch the old man sleep. He found comfort in knowing that the eye was not watching him, that it could not see the true evil in him. While the eye was closed, so was the idea of killing the old man. It is not until the old man awakens each day that the struggle within him is apparent. This may be the reason why the narrator is so obsessed with watching the old man sleep. The actual act of murder, which the man believes was premeditated, was in fact a spur of the moment action. He toiled with the idea while the man was awake, that is, while he could see the "evil eye". However, while the eye was closed, the man was at peace. One night, during one of the man's "stalking" sessions, the old man awakens. The man goes into a paranoid frenzy, mistaking the beating of his heart for the beating of the old man's heart. During this frenzy, the man is afraid that neighbors will hear the beating of the old man's heart. This causes the man to take action. He quickly subdues the old man and kills him. He then takes extreme steps in disposing of the body, dismembering it and burying it under the planks in the floorboard. These extreme actions can be used as evidence to the paranoia that is taking over him. The fear of getting caught would be a normal reaction to someone who has committed a murder. However, the dismemberment of the body was not necessary since the man had ample resources to dispose of the body properly. When the police arrive at the house, the man is sure that he has nothing to fear. He lets them into the house and bids them to search wherever they



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