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Characters of The Tell-Tale Heart Essays

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The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe is a short story that dives into the mind of an insane man. The story only features five characters. There is an old man with a blue eye, the crazed killer, and three police. The story is narrated by the nameless murderer. It is his attempt to justify his behavior and to prove to the reader that he is not crazy. As the story goes on you come to the realization that he is actually insane. The characters in this story are complex, interesting, and elaborate.
The first character to be introduced is the old man. Just like every other character, the old man does not receive a name. He has a blue eye that appears to have a film over it. According to the story he has quite a bit of gold in his house. The old man was also nice to the narrator, as he has never done anything to him that would provoke the murder:
“He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.” (Poe 1)
The next character introduced is the narrator. He is both complex and interesting. He thinks he is not crazy. As he goes out of his way to prove that his is not insane, he does the exact opposite. His relationship with the old man is unknown. However, he does say he loves the old man. “I loved the old man.” (Poe 1).
As the story begins the narrator tries to convince the reader that he is not insane. This goes on throughout the story. He says he suffers from over-acuteness. “And have I not told you that what you mist...


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...d I do? I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder!” (Poe 5)
The noise grew louder and he eventually yelled and told the cops where to find the body and what he had done to the old man. In the end it was his own madness that gave him away. The same beating heart that caused him to kill the man, caused him to confess to the murder. “"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! Here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"(Poe 5)
The characters in The Tell-Tale Heart are complex, interesting, and elaborate. Although much is not known about them, they each have minor details that make them stand out. Whether it be the old man’s eye, or the narrators growing insanity.


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