The Tell Tale Heart Analysis

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“Madmen know nothing” claims the unidentified main character in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” This short story is a psychological thriller and murder confession told from the point of view of an unknown murderer. An unknown character starts by claiming that he is not insane because if he were he would be able to confess to it so calmly. He then proceeds by telling how for seven nights he has stalked the old man he lived with, ultimately killing him on the eighth night. He is able to give an extremely detailed description of the events, too detailed for any normal person to remember. Although, it covers issues on psychotic behavior and guilt, the most important element in this story is Poe’s use of irony. Poe uses irony in order to further convey the message that the narrator is undeniably insane. He does so by having the narrator defend his own sanity only to come across as delusional and in the process hurting his credibility even more. Before beginning his narrative, the unnamed narrator claims that he is nervous and oversensitive but not mad, and offers his calmness in the narration as proof of his sanity. Although the narrator is aware that this rationalization seems to indicate his insanity, he explains that he cannot be mad because he proceeded with “caution” and “foresight,” and a crazy man would not have been as clever as him. The irony of the narrator's account in "The Tell-Tale Heart" is that although he proclaims himself to be too calm to be a madman, he is defeated by a noise that may be interpreted as the beating of his own heart. Because of the unreliability of the narrator, it is impossible to know for certain if the beating is a supernatural effect, the product of his own imagination, or an actual sound... ... middle of paper ... ...short story. It is ironic that the very fear he tries to demolish (the evil eye) is the exact fear that is responsible for his downfall. The narrator expects that that his troubles will go away and that the old man will never be discovered, he will never have to see “the eye” again, and no one will ever deduce he is the culprit. However, that is not the end of the story, for the ending is the opposite of what the narrator expects. He ends up confessing and admits to having killed the old man even though when the officers first arrived he said he had nothing to fear. In his audacity led the officers to the old man’s room and placed his own char “upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.” It turns out that the narrator was not as clever and cunning as he thought he was and has a mental breakdown which ultimately drives him to admit “the deed.”

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