He admits that there was no interest, no passion whatsoever in killing the old man, whom he loved. Throughout the story, the narrator directs us towards how he boldly ends up committing a horrifying murder and dissecting the corpse into pieces. Subsequently, we can observe that the conventional definition of irony is met; he tries to convince the readers about his fully sane state of mind but in turn, ends up exposing his utmost insanity. The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” who claims to be sane is in fact trying to get away with the punishment for the crime that he readily admits by faking insanity through ironic means. Edgar Allan Poe, the writer himself is the one who establishes the irony in this story, not the narrator because the latter seems to be completely insensible about the ironic component of his monologue.
He explains that his disease makes all his senses and especially his hearing, very sensitive as well as acute. The narrator then informs the readers of the events in his past to prove that he isn’t mad. He tells the readers that he loves the old man and has nothing against him, except the old man’s “pale blue eye, with a film over it” (Poe). The narrator explains how he hates the evil eye and whishes to kill the old man, so that he could be free from the eye. He goes on to say that for seven nights he would go to the old man’s room and watch him sleep, but on the eighth night, the old man wakes from hearing the narrator enter the room and from the shadows the narrator sees the evil eye prompting him to kill the old man.
And this I did for seven long nights...but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye." The old man suspected nothing. During the day, the narrator continued to perform his usual duties, and even dared to ask each morning how the old man had passed the night; however, at midnight, the nightly ritual continued. Upon the eighth night, the narrator proceeded to the old man's room as usual; however, on this night, something was different. "Never before that night had I felt the extent of my powers--of my sagacity.
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.
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.
However, these attempts were made futile as the ringing never ceased, ultimately prompting the narrator to admit his crime. The noise could be inferred as the manifestation of the guilt the narrator contains for killing the old man, of who was a kindred spirit and had watched over the former. It could also be said that the noise is the beating of his heart, of which the rate of the heartbeat would increase as he becomes more nervous and anxious. Correspondingly, the husband in The Black Cat has the same problem. In addition to the murder of Pluto, the husband attempted to kill to his second cat, of which did not result in the death of the actual cat, but the wife instead as she moved to protect the pet.
On the eighth night, the narrator was successful in killing the man and left no evidence of the murder. The narrator now feels happy that he no longer has to endure the vulture eye. However, in the story, it is portrayed the dead man’s heart continued to beat, which began to incapacitate the narrator’s mental state. “The Tell Tale Heart” illustrates how the narrator’s nervousness drove him insane. The narrator had mixed emotions towards the old man.
The Tell-Tale Heart Summary The story starts off with the narrator explaining how his disease hot not handicapped him at all, but yet he is still mad. He wonders what makes him mad, if he is mad at all. He explains that an idea ran through his head, and he could not get rid of it. There was an old man, and he loved the old man. He figures out that it is because of the old man's blue eye that he must kill him.
Poe's story demonstrates an inner conflict; the state of madness and emotional break-down that the subconscious can inflict upon one's self. In "The Tell-Tale Heart", the storyteller tells of his torment. He is tormented by an old man's Evil Eye. The storyteller had no ill will against the old man himself, even saying that he loved him, but the old man's pale blue, filmy eye made his blood run cold. And when the storyteller couldn't take anymore of the Evil Eye looking at him, he said, "I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever."
Though the narrator just murdered the innocent old man, he believes he is justifiably sane and calm. This ironically, is not the case in retrospect. After burying the evidence of the murder the police arrive and question the narrator of the screams the neighbor reported. Still during this time, the narrator thought he was completely justified and sane. He kept reassuring himself they knew nothing while chatting and answering their questions.