Insanity in Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Alan Poe Essay

Insanity in Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Alan Poe Essay

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Every once in awhile, a case comes about in which the defendant confesses to a crime, but the defense tries to argue that at the time the defendant was not sane. This case is no different; the court knows the defendant is guilty the only aspect they are unsure about is the punishment this murderer should receive. The State is pushing for a jail sentence and strongly believes that the defendant was sane at the time of the murder. It is nearly impossible for the defense to prove their evidence burden of 51%. The State claims that the defendant was criminally responsible at the time of the murder. By using excessive exaggeration, premeditation and motive, the Prosecution will prove that the defendant knew exactly what he was doing and how wrong it was.
In a time when all one has to do is say they hear voices to be labeled insane, by claiming the was hearing things made it very easy for the defendant to have an “excuse” to fall back on. Hearing voices is not the only thing that the defendant exaggerates on. He goes into great depth speaking of his sense of super hearing, for instance, being able to hear from both the heavens and from hell. “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell” (Poe p. 1245). He also said he was hearing the old man’s heart beat. Through out his story there are many exaggerations. The defendant also speaks of being able to stay perfectly still for over an hour while holding a lantern. “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle . . .” (1246). It is humanly impossible to stand perfectly still for over an hour especially while holding a lantern. If one were to attempt this stunt they would merely last fifteen to twenty minutes before giving up from exhaustion. These over exaggera...


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... others that as soon as they claim they hear voices or are claim they killed someone because they did not like the way a person’s eye looked that they can get off on a lighter sentence. The defendant has planned all of this out, and if it works out the way he has planned it, there will be a murderer released from a mental institution after a short period of time instead of being locked up for the rest of his life with the other criminals like he deserves. If this person were insane, he would have not have mentioned anything about the old man’s fortune if it were so unimportant that he would have never mentioned it at all. The States believes that the defense has failed to prove it burden of 51% and this man must be convicted and sent to a prison before he murders someone else and uses “insanity” as an excuse again.



Works Cited

Edgar Allen Poe, Tell tale Heart

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