"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a famous short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe. He first published the story in January 1843, in the short-lived Pioneer magazine. "Tell-Tale" is about a nameless man who kills an old man for a really strange reason, which we won't give away here. The nameless man tells the story of the murder to prove he is not insane.
Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to actors Elizabeth and David Poe, both of whom died before Poe's second birthday. Shortly thereafter, Poe moved to Virginia to live with the childless couple John and Frances Allan.
His biography has fascinated scholars and readers for a long time, and nobody can quite pin him down. Many scholars agree that he was a heavy drinker and was addicted to the drug laudanum. There is much gossip, speculation, and fabrication regarding the man's death, but he probably passed away as a result of drug and alcohol-related complications. He died October 13, 1849, at Church Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland (source).
Poe believed that a perfect story should be readable in one sitting, that it should be a tightly controlled, highly compressed narrative that hit on topics to which everybody can relate. Weighing in at ten precise paragraphs, "Tell-Tale" is an excellent example of Poe's theory of writing. For more, check out his essay "Philosophy of Composition."
If you like stories that test and sharpen your analytical skills, while scaring you with portrayals of the extremes of human behavior, this is the tale for you. It's also only ten paragraphs long, so you can read it in one sitting, which is what Edgar Allan Poe had in mind. He believed that if a story isn't read through in one sitting, much of the impact is lost (source).
This story is an attempt to create an extremely brief piece packed with as much information as possible, though perhaps not the kind of information we get in many stories. No names. No locations. It's as if the narrator meets you, by chance, in a dark café and tells you his darkest secrets, knowing he will never see you again. The information we get is secret information, the kind of things we don't hear everyday.
Since it's fiction, you can look at it objectively and, in doing so, learn more about your own feelings concerning murder, confession, and related topics. If you have to think about these things, why not use a guy like Poe, who thought about them most of the time, it would appear, to help get you thinking?
Insanity in The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe Essay example
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Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart" is a short story about how a murderer's conscience overtakes him and whether the narrator is insane or if he suffers from over acuteness of the senses. Poe suggests the narrator is insane by the narrator's claims of sanity, the narrator's actions bring out the narrative irony of the story, and the narrator is insane according to the definition of insanity as it applies to "The Tell Tale Heart".
First, Poe suggests the narrator is insane by his assertions of sanity. For example, the narrator declares because he planned the murder so expertly he could not be insane. He says, "Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen how wisely I proceeded-with what…show more content…
The narrator plans the murder so well and with such logic but his reasons for murder are irrational. The narrator says he loves the old man but then vows to kill him. Speaking of the murder, the narrator says, "Object there was none. Passion there was none. I love the old man he had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire". If the narrator is not insane he would not kill a man he loves or want to kill someone with an ugly eye. The narrator's reason for the murder of the old man is unjustified and deranged. This shows the narrative irony used because someone who commits a murder with so little logic in the reasoning cannot be trusted. The narrator decides to kill the old man because the old man's eye brings terror upon the narrator whenever he sees it. The narrator's fear of the eye is irrational. Regarding the eye the narrator says, "Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees-very gradually-I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever". Also, the narrator hears things which are not actually occurring. As the narrator is looking in the old man's room at midnight he thinks the old man's heart is beating so loud that he can hear it from the doorway and it keeps growing louder and louder in his ears. He says, "But the beating grew