Illusion versus Reality in The Tell Tale Heart

Illusion Vs Reality in Engar Allan Poe’s

"The Tell-Tale Heart"

How can we justify a man is mad or not? A man may talk like a wise man, and yet act like a mad man. In Poe’s "The Tell-Tale Heart", the narrator depicted a story that he killed the old man because of the old man’s so-call "evil eye" which made his blood run cold. Althought the narrator tried to persuade the reader that he was normal, several pieces of evidence of confusing illusion and reality adequately indicates his madness and absurdity. By examining his behaviour and mind, I will expound his madness thoroughly.

Firstly, at the end of this story, the narrator’s illusions are the most powerful pieces of evidence for his madness. It is his two illusions that betrays him and imposed him to confess the crime. His first illusion is the beating of the old man’s heart which actually did not exist. Initialy, exactly as he portrayed "My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears, it continued and became more distinct", the ringing he heard haunted him ceaselessly. Then he "found that the noise was not within his ear", and thought the fancy in his ear was the beating of old man’s heart. Because of the increasing noise, he thought the officers must hear it, too. However, in fact, everything he heard is absurd and illusive. And it proves that the narrator is really insane. Next, his second illusion is the officers’ "hypocritical smiles" which pushed him to completely be out of control. Losting of his mind, he called the officer "Villains". Apparently, he was confused and falsely thought "they were making a mockery of his horror" which irritated him intensively. Consequently, he told all the truth and "admitted the deed" in order to get rid of the growing noise. Therefore, the above two pieces of evidence both reveal the truth that the narrator is absolutely insane in contrary to what the narrator tried to tell us.

Besides the ending of story, we can also figure out the contradiction what the narrator said from the front depiction. Above all, in the first paragragh, the narrator told us he was “very, very dreadfully nervous”, and it was the “disease” that had sharpened his senses. Moreover, this “disease” had a serious impact on his sense of hearing.
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