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The Tell Tale Heart

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Edgar Allan Poe, whose personal torment so

powerfully informed his visionary prose and poetry, is

a towering figure in the history of American literature.

A Virginia gentleman and the son of itinerant actors,

the heir to great fortune and a disinherited outcast, a

university man who had failed to graduate, a soldier

brought out of the army, a husband with an

unapproachable child-bride, a brilliant editor and low

salaried hack, a world renowned but impoverish

author, a temperate man and uncontrollable alcoholic,

a materialist who yearned for a final union with God.

His fevered imagination brought him to great heights

of creativity and the depths of paranoiac despair. Yet

although he produced a relatively small volume of

work, he virtually invented the horror and detective

genres and his literary legacy endures to this day.

In the Tell Tale Heart the main character, the narrator,

has a problem with an old man, the antagonist, whom

he is living with. The odd thing is that the problem has

nothing to do with old man, how he acts, or even his

attitude towards the narrator. It is simply one of the

old man's eyes which is blind or he can't see a

hundred percent in one eye. The narrator's

description of the eye is that it resembled that of a

vulture, pale blue with a film over it. When the

narrator looked at it, it caused his blood to run cold.

This drove him crazy and caused him to kill the old


He begins to believe that he is hearing the old man's

heart beating, while he was killing him and after he is

dead. The pounding becomes louder and louder, and

drives him crazy. It forces him to tell the police

officers, who are searching his house, that he killed

the old man and showed them were the body is

buried, which is the most ironic and the last thing you

would think to happen. The irony comes into play

when his heightened sense of hearing and sober

madness is the cause of his downfall. How ironic, the

same craze that led him to kill the man is the same

craze that led him to his demise.

The story takes place in a house around the turn of the

1800, probably in the northeastern part of the United States,

and covers the period of one week and the relentless pursuit

of perfect preparation the narrator went through to commit

murder without getting caught. The story involves an old

man, the antagonist, the police, and the protagonist, who is

also the narrator, and tells the story from his point of view.

On the other hand we have no idea of the relationship

between the antagonist, the old man and the narrator, but

what is told to us by the narrator. One tends to wander if

they were related or was he simply a servant for hire and

therefore cared for the old man. The narrator has left a lot to

our imagination on the relationship of the characters.

His insanity has made him a very paranoid man, he believes

that everyone is trying to make a full of him, even thought he

believed he carried out a perfect murder. He bragged about

his preparation, and thought that the old suspected nothing

of his plain of terror and mayhem. The narrator who is

aware of what is it to be mad, but cannot bring himself to

believe that he himself is insane. He believes that since he is

able to recollect and present every detail of the events that

took place proves that he is not insane. He believes that



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