Essay about A Hanging and A Tell-Tale Heart

Essay about A Hanging and A Tell-Tale Heart

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Within a short story, there is usually an obstacle that the main character has to persevere through. Between the characters of the guard from George Orwell’s “A Hanging” and the servant from Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart”, they both experience the act of taking another person’s life. The guard from “A Hanging” works at a prison in Burma where felons await execution. His job is to lead the convicted men to their doom and makes sure everything goes routinely and swift. While the servant from “A Tell-Tale Heart” is a psychopathic man who lets his obsession over his boss’s glasseye lead him to plot and carry out his death. Throughout both stories, the protagonists reach a moment when they need to take part in the organized killings though, their different views on life and responses to the deaths set them apart. As a result, even through the prison guard and the servant both played key roles in the executions of the victims, they both have different outlooks and reactions towards their deeds. When it comes to the obstacle that the prison guard and the servant face, they are both in the position of ending the lives of their victims on pre-determined dates. The guard for starters works at a prison where “cell[s] measured about 10 feet and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot for drinking water” (Orwell 32) and “brown, silent men” (Orwell 32) within them. The guard mentions that they “were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two” (Orwell 32). Once the prisoner is introduced, the clock strikes eight o’clock and the army doctor states ““For God’s sake hurry up, Francis,” he said irritably. “The man ought to have been dead by this time. Aren’t you ready yet?” (Orwell 32). This shows that ther...


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...ad a sense of relief that came over him when his duty is fulfilled, while the servant had a rush of excitement, followed by anxiety and nervousness from the old man’s heart beating and the fear of being exposed. Unquestionably, the guard and the servant see and experience things differently even through they are both faced with the obstacle of ending a life. They both take part in arranged killings and are vital parts to the death of the victims. But on the other hand, the guard sees he values of life while the servant could not care less for it, and the guard feels relief after the death while the servant experiences a shift of emotions from confidence to nervousness and anxiety. Without a doubt, both the protagonists are fundamental in determining the fate of the characters they kill, but in turn they equally have different views and responses towards their acts.

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