Edgar Allan Poe 's The Tell Tale Heart Essay

Edgar Allan Poe 's The Tell Tale Heart Essay

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Not every story we hear is real nor what it seems. A person could calmly and accurately relate a story without an ounce of reality to it or exaggerate facts to make it more fantastic. Before agreeing to a story’s credibility, it is vital that you observe the tone, gestures, and the conviction with which the storyteller is relating the story. It is the reader’s responsibility to distinguish between facts and fiction and realize that, although a story was told in perfect detail does not mean the event was real. A reliable storyteller should be able to give details with clarity and transparency. Being consistent and rational are but few of the characteristics that would give away a reliable story.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, the conviction with which the narrator laid out the events leading to him killing the old man makes the reader think the person is sane. His constant need to reaffirm his sanity throughout the story, however, seemed to indicate otherwise. Any semblance to an illusion automatically removes the credibility of a story. Take for example the part where the narrator said, “I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture….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”, it is an extreme reaction which is inconsistent with a normal persons behavior. No matter how distorted or bizarre an eye or the look of an eye would be, it would never provoke a desire to kill. The cold and empty feelings the narrator felt in the old man’s eye pushed his mind beyond comfort and clarity. The discomfort drove him into a contrived reality in which the eye would mock h...


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If there is a tinge of fantasy in a very accurate and detailed story, how would you be able to trust the narrator? The mere mentioned of hearing voices in heaven and hell would plant a seed of doubt right away and question its credibility. For the narrator to entertain the police officers in the old man’s room, talk to them and then confess to the killing all at the same time, chances are he is mad and completely lost between the reality of his disease and the illusions born out of the illness. In the beginning he said he had no anger towards the old man, except the eye, which bothers him beyond sanity. But in the end, when he confessed to the murder, he referred to his heart as hideous, leaving us to that think that he may have indeed a deeply rooted hatred towards the old man. The lack of motive is contradictory to his powerful desire to kill the old man.

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