The Tell-Tale Heart Essay, Research Paper
THE TELL-TALE HEARTEven though Poe stated in the first few lines of the story that the person narrating the story is insane. It is only when the narrator tells us his preparations for murdering the old man that we know how insane he is. The narrator states, “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?” The narrator explains it as merely some disease which has sharpened his senses that has made people call him crazy. Well, to me if someone hears voices of heaven, earth, and hell in his head, he has either a radio that has a very long reception wave, or that this man is insane. The narrator tells us, “how wisely I proceeded with what caution,” “I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently!” “How cunningly I thrust my head in! I Moved it slowly, very slowly,” “I undid the lantern cautiously oh, so cautiously cautiously.” Taking a whole hour to intrude his head into the room, he asks, “Ha !-would a madman be as wise as this?” He does not show wisdom. Instead an over zealous care is taken to ensure the murder. His careful preparations, he believes prove him to be sane, but this only reassures the reader of his insanity. Something I find to reinforce my idea of him being insane is that he regards the eye as a separate being from the old man. He states, “It was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye.”It seemed to that he could not kill the old man unless he could see his eye, he states, “I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work.” Work is referring to killing the old man, as if it was a job that must be completed. This suggested that may be there was something other than his insanity that is obscuring his sense of reality. Even though he takes great pains not to disturb the old man s sleep, he wants to catch the “Evil Eye” open. Well, his thinking is not logical, if he wanted to kill the “Evil Eye” while it was open, why not rush the old man wake him and then kill him. In his mind the “Evil Eye” and the old man is two different beings. No doubt the narrator is clever in his insanely scheme, and he is proud of this cleverness. “I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye not even his could detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out no stain of any kind no bloodspot whatever. I had been
too wary for that. A tub had caught all ha! ha! “, he says. The point of view in the story is given to us by the narrator in the first person. Since the story is told by the main character we have to believe what s happening and not a delusion of the madness in his mind. Thus hoping what is said is accurate. Giving us this point of view is vital to understanding his madness and the killing of the old man. The theme of the story is somewhat difficult to grasp if there is one, I really do not find any theme in this story. A comparison of Tell-Tal Heart s narrator, and A Rose For Emily s main character. They both have a warped sense of reality, and both of their reality is different than those of other characters in the story. What I mean by this is their reality or behavior is not shared by all; the characters in The Lottery all participate in the obscure behavior which then makes it in the norm for society. Miss Emily poisons a man, and then sleeps with the dead body believing its acceptable behavior, when its really not. Both the narrator and Miss Emily are selfish. Miss Emily thinks only of herself and what her needs are. Poe s narrator also is selfish, killing the old man because he could not bear the old man s eye. Unlike Emily the Narrator knows what he was going is wrong. Why else would he hide the body and trying to fool the policemen. Narrating in the first person point of view gives us this advantage. In Emily s case this is no so. Her reason why she did what she did was not given to us in the same point of view, we could only conclude why.