For the average person, it is impossible to fathom the internal conflicts which a madman suffers on a daily basis. An insane person reacts irrationally and severe actions are often taken to deal with basic conflicts. These actions are often unpredictable. Although madness may not be understood by a completely sane person, someone who alternates from madness to sanity knows both worlds. A man who seems to have this capability is Edgar Allan Poe. Writer Edgar Allan Poe brilliantly demonstrates the theme of insanity by interpreting many different aspects of mental illness in the narrator of “A Tell-Tale Heart.” In “A Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator displays symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Anosognosia, indicating that although he believes himself to be a sane man, he is actually severely ill.
First, the narrator exhibits symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).When affected by OCD a person suffers from anxiety because of a particular obsession. The person affected with OCD then has the compulsion to get rid of this obsession to relieve this anxiety (Psychological Disorders). The narrator seems to show symptoms of OCD from the start of the story. Gale critical essays agree that “for an unknown reason, the old man’s cloudy, pale blue eye has incited madness in the narrator” (Wilson 344).The unexplainable discomfort caused by the old man’s eye fits the obsessive requirement of OCD. Although the narrator loves the old man, “whenever [the eye falls] upon [the narrator, his] blood [runs] cold, and … [he makes] up [his] mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid [himself] of the eye forever” (Poe 69). The obsession with the vulture looking eye drives the narrator to eventually kill the old man in...
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Wilson, Kathleen, and Marie Lazzari. Short stories for students presenting analysis, context, and criticism on commonly studied short stories. Volume 4 ed. Detroit: Gale Group, 1998. Print.
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Masterplots II: Short Story Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1989.
In the book the “Tell-Tale Heart” by Edger Allen Poe, the narrator visited the old man and whenever the old man would look at the narrator, the narrator felt judged and scared because the old man had a “Vulture” looking eye. Every night, the narrator would go into the old man’s room and plan on a way to get rid of the eye that infuriated and made the narrator so scared. The narrator killed the old man, however confessed to the murder. “And so, I had finally decided I had to kill the old man and close the eye forever!” This quote showed how the narrator was not mentally sane. Insanity is a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality and cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. The narrator said that his hearing became a lot more powerful and could hear sounds from both heaven and hell and these are some symptoms of being mentally insane. The narrator’s insanity in “The Tell-Tale Heart” makes the narrator feel
Edgar Allan Poe uses the theme of the clouded judgment of a psychotic individual to further develop his short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In the beginning of this piece, the persona constantly tries to insist he has a sound mind by creating excuses for any demonstrations of insanity in his behavior. After he is finished with affirming his supposed sanity, the narrator begins to tell the reader a story in an attempt to provide his audience with an example of how mentally healthy he believes himself to be. However, the story the persona discusses is riddled with tons of logical fallacies, which provides evidence towards the claim the narrator is indeed insane, not sane as he thinks himself as. An example of the persona’s twisted reasoning
To begin, the narrator is haunted by the idea that the eye is evil and that he must dispose of it. At the start, it is clear that the eye disturbs the narrator: “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 413). The frightening effect that the eye has on the narrator affects him so much so that he decides to murder the old man in order to get rid of it. This shows his belief that the eye has supernatural powers and demonstrates to what extent he wants to free himself of the eye’s imposing control. Moreover, when the narrator begins stalking the old man in his sleep, he has made a complete distinction between the eye and the old man: “[…] I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed
Evans, Robert C., Anne C. Little, and Barbara Wiedemann. Short Fiction: A Critical Companion. West Cornwall, CT: Locust Hill, 1997. 265-270.
Wilson, Kathleen, ed. Short Stories for Students. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.
Edgar Allan Poe creates an atmosphere of fear and dread in his short story, The Tell Tale Heart, when he writes the narrator himself falling into a bout of insanity. Throughout the story, Poe elicits concern from the reader as the narrator describes himself having the desire to kill an old, innocent man. However, the narrator is unreliable in that he recounts the relationship that he shares with the old man as amicable: “I was never kinder than during the whole week before I killed him (Poe 303). The narrator shows obvious signs of insanity because he believes the manner in which he premeditates the old man’s murder contributes to his intelligence rather than to his insanity. The narrator’s only apparent motive for killing the old man is his eye: “for it
Jaffe, Adrian H. and Virgil Scott. Studies in the Short Story. 5th ed. New York: The Dryden Press, 1956.
“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest of intelligence,” Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is famous in the writing world and has written many amazing stories throughout his gloomy life. At a young age his parents died and he struggled with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. A great amount of work he created involves a character that suffers with a psychological problem or mental illness. Two famous stories that categorize Poe’s psychological perspective would be “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Both of these stories contain many similarities and differences of Poe’s psychological viewpoint.
This essay will define madness in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. In the story, the narrator lacks valid justification for killing his neighbor. He uses the old man’s evil eye as his reason for killing him, but it is clear that even the narrator is a little unsure of why he did it. He says he thinks it was the man’s eye that drove him to murder. A sane person would most likely have a definite reason for murder, and not have to think. The narrator also lacks empathy for the old man, which is an indication that he is not of sound mind. When plotting the murder, he says he recognized the man’s fear, but that deep down he smiled. The narrator’s constant explanations of his sanity also establish his madness; most sane people do not have to