The narrator started the story by protesting his sanity, but in the end, it is evident that, he is truly insane through his actions. Only an insane person could do what the narrator did, killing an innocent man and even mutilating his body. Edgar Allan Poe uses the narrator to display the theme of insanity in his book, The Tell Tale Heart. Works Cited Poe, Edgar Allan. The Tell-Tale Heart.
Critical Analysis of Poe's The Tell Tale Heart The Tell Tale Heart is a story, on the most basic level, of conflict. There is a mental conflict within the narrator himself (assuming the narrator is male). Through obvious clues and statements, Poe alerts the reader to the mental state of the narrator, which is insanity. The insanity is described as an obsession (with the old man's eye), which in turn leads to loss of control and eventually results in violence. Ultimately, the narrator tells his story of killing his housemate.
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.
The narrator’s perception of his actions explains how someone who is insane can convince themselves that committing a violent crime such as killing someone in their sleep is justifiable. Therefore, in Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart”, the unreliable narrator’s perspective of the situation allows the reader to understand that all the evil the narrator sees in the old man’s eye is in fact a reflection of the narrator’s inner
-nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Poe, 303). The narrator questioning his own madness is often proof that the narrator may be unreliable and, most likely, insane. For the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” it is apparent that he is mad due to the highly methodical way he went about killing a man he liked because the man’s eye troubled the narrator. Poe himself may not have killed anyone, but he did struggle with some kind of insanity like the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In the story “William Wilson,” the narrator is presumably addicted to opium, alcohol, and gambling. The character William Wilson seems to share many traits with Poe himself when it comes to substance abuse and gambling.
He asks, “Why will you say that I am mad?”… “Observe how healthily-how calmly I can tell you the whole story” (Poe par.1). Fundamentally, the confused state of the narrators mind could be Poe’s strategy to keep the reader induced by the narrator’s confession. The twisted plot brings complexity to such a short story making The Tell-Tale Heart to be both mysterious and psychologically intriguing. The fact that he had not motive to kill the old man furthers confirms of his insanity. In the process of defending his sanity plea, the narrator has to confess about committing the crime.
Madmen know nothing. But you should of seen me.” (Poe, 331) This further shows how exactly insane this man is and that he is far from being sane as he wants us to believe. The murder then continuously repeats how a mad man would not have been so careful, or that would a madman known to be so wise. Wh... ... middle of paper ... ...heme that is a large part of the story is light verses dark which can be seen in how the man acted during the day compared to how he acted at night. At night the man would enter the old man’s room at midnight in an attempt to murder him in his sleep but his rage would stop because he did not see his eye.
Whereas the narrator of Telltale heart insist that his reason for killing the old man is because of his [vulture] eye, Doe claims that he’s performing God’s will. The two psychotic personalities use a faulty rational faculty to veil their madness. The narrator claims, “I think it was his eye!—yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture…I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (715). The narrator blames his actions on the man’s eye.
The narrator, Montresor wants to not only get away with killing his rival, but he wants to do so in a way that prevents the man from knowing of the narrator’s cruel ... ... middle of paper ... ...the points mentioned if one was to go back to the question is there a deeper, darker meaning to Poe’s fiction “The Cask of Amontillado”? It would be hard to argue no when the very characters in the story are walking, talking personifications of these characteristics. These people represent the worst in humanity, engaging in murder, betrayal, and many other heinous things. In fact, one could even suggest that Poe seeing these things in everyday society is what inspired him to write this tale. Maybe a wrong was done to him that went unjust, and this story is just his fantasy of getting revenge on that person.
The tale begins with a dramatic declaration of a tortured mind: “very dreadful nervous I had been and am” (Poe 922). This vivid testimony immediately gives the reader insight into the narrator’s state of paranoia. Regardless of “how calmly” the narrator vows he can recount his story, his words foreshadow the crime he commits (Poe 922). He is mentally imbalanced and has committed a murder without rational motive. In “Ego-Evil and ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’”, Magdalen Wing-chi Ki says the narrator’s mind is “utterly corrupt at its root” because he is “immune to the notion of right or wrong” (Wing-chi Ki 29).