Analysis of The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

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Imagine the sight of an old man's eye, vultures, pale blue, with a film covering it. (Farooq). Could this make one’s self so insane that one would murder a man because of it? This is the event that occurs in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". Every night at midnight, the narrator, ventured into the old man's room without making a sound, to observe the very eye at which made his blood run cold. The old man did not suspect a thing. During the day the narrator continued to go about his daily routine, and even went so far as to ask the old man every morning if he slept well the night before. Upon the eighth midnight of the nightly ritual, the narrator proceeded to the old man's room as usual; however, this night was different. As he slipped cat-like into the room, the old man sat up suddenly in his bed, crying out "Who's there?" The narrator stood there silently for over an hour, as did the old man who did not lie back down. Finally he opened the lantern ever so slightly, letting in only a single dim ray, only to see that the eye was wide open. "It was wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness— all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones."(Edger). Then suddenly he heard "a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when wrapped in cotton."(Edger). This prompted the narrator to leap into the room, drag the old man off the bed, and pulled the heavy bed over him. After carefully checking to make sure that the man was dead, he proceeded to chop up the body, and discretely bury the pieces under the planks of the floor. Not long after, the police came because of a shriek reported by a neighbor. The narrator invited the officers in and sat them r... ... middle of paper ... ...illed the man. Symbolism is an important aspect of the story. The major symbol is the heartbeat. The narrator believed that the sound was the beating of the old man's heart, but it was actually his own heartbeat, signifying his fear of being caught, and his guilty conscience tormenting him for killing the old man. (Aatifmazhar) The vultures’, blue veiled eye clearly represents evil, the evil that the narrator saw in the eye that he was trying to eliminate. A theme of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is that human nature is a delicate balance of light and dark, or good and evil. Most of the time this precarious proportion is maintained; however, when there is a shift, for whatever reason, the dark or perverse side emerges. How and why this dark side arises differs from person to person. What may push one individual over the edge will only cause another to raise an eyebrow.
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