The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and A Confession by Charles Dickens

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and A Confession by Charles Dickens

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A Comparison Between The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and A
Confession… by Charles Dickens.

A Comparison Between
====================

'The Tell-Tale Heart' by Edgar Allan Poe 'A Confession' by Charles Dickens


The titles are both self-explanatory, 'The Tell-Tale Heart' tells us
how the heart is an informer, and in 'A Confession found in a prison
in the time of Charles the Second' it says how it is based in the
period of Charles the Second. The title chosen by Poe is appropriate
however the title chosen by Dickens could be more imaginative, and it
is long. Poe's title is more mysterious than Dickens's very plain
title.

The Plot in both stories are based on a murder, and in both the
murderer tries to conceal evidence of the murder but still they are
discovered. The two short stories are both confessions, in Poe's the
murderer could be telling his confession to a friend or a policeman.
In Dickens's the murderers confession is probably a written confession
because he goes deeply into background knowledge. In both short
stories the confession is the climax. The motive for both killers is
also the eye of the victim, because it drives both of them crazy.
Dickens is more informative and factual than Poe's ideas of fantastic
madness. Poe's story is left open-ended, but in dickens's the murderer
tells you that he has one more day to live and then he is executed.
Poe's story starts powerfully with springy exclamatory speeches
however Dickens starts very slow, it is far too factual and Dickens
goes on about background knowledge for too long

There are only two similarities in the setting, that they were both
based in a house. Also they took place in the 19th century. We know
that Dickens based his story in England however we are not told in
which country/area Poe's story is set. We get the impression that
Dickens set his house as a large country house, with an impressive
garden. In Poe's setting of his house we are only told of the interior
of a house, which is probably an average town house. Poe's setting is
more law strophic, however Dickens's is definitely set in a more rich,
and upper class manner.

The characters were both very obsessive. Both characters also stalked
their victims until they suddenly killed them. Both killers had an
obsession with their victim's eyes. Both men were very conniving
characters, as they both were very precise in trying to cover up the
murders. Both targets were also very vulnerable, in Poe's it was an
old man, In Dickens's it was a young boy, both these victims would

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have not had a chance to defend themselves. Poe's narrator denies
madness but Dickens's character accepts it. I believe this is quite
ironic in the sense that after reading both stories, I considered
Poe's character a more insane character than Dickens's, this is
probably based on the fact that the narrator in Poe's story is to mad
to accept his madness. In Poe's story the killer does not hate the old
man however in Dickens's the main character despises the child with
intense loathing.

In both short stories the killers have the same obsession over the
eyes of their victims. Their psychotic obsession in both cases leads
to the murder. Guilt manifests itself in both confessions; the guilt
shown is as powerful as the psychosis itself. In both stories the
murder leads to the guilt both main characters gain. This shows a
sense of moralistic, it shows how both killers after doing wrong go
through guilt that makes them both more psychotic, and finally they
both get caught, this shows that guilt cannot be avoided. Madness is
an obvious theme clearly shown in both stories, madness is shown
throughout both stories in many forms, and both justify their madness
rationally by committing murder. A difference is that in Poe's, the
killer did not reject his victim and the victim did not reject the
killer, however in Dickens's, the killer shows clear rejection for the
boy and vice-versa. This is because in Poe's the narrator and the man
have a close relationship but in Dickens's the man is jealous of the
boy. In Poe's story the killer isn't quite aware of the guilt but in
Dickens's his main character is. Poe's killer's motivation is based on
his obsessive hatred, in Dickens's it is the spirit of the mother's
boy that drives him wild.

The narrators in both stories speak in a dramatic monologue (directly
to the reader), this helps to feel the emotions of the murderer,
therefore intensifies tension and suspense. They both speak in mostly
past tense, (apart from Dickens in the beginning and ending) which is
like someone reading a story to the reader, which is more direct; it
helps to get messages across. Both writers use strong metaphors to
describe and compare, this helps to build up suspense because it
improves imagery greatly. Both narrators speak in a paranoid sense,
which creates tension. Poe's character uses sharp repeated exclamatory
sentences, which shows his madness. Dickens's character talks in a
more posh English language.

These two 19th-century short stories both were classic gothic horror
stories, showing all the signs of psychosis, paranoia, suspense, guilt
and tension. I felt that Poe's story was a much more interesting
story, as the killer was completely insane with a passion. Dickens's
story was more like other gothic horror stories.
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