The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe is a short story that dives into the mind of an insane man. The story only features five characters. There is an old man with a blue eye, the crazed killer, and three police. The story is narrated by the nameless murderer. It is his attempt to justify his behavior and to prove to the reader that he is not crazy. As the story goes on you come to the realization that he is actually insane. The characters in this story are complex, interesting, and elaborate.
The first character to be introduced is the old man. Just like every other character, the old man does not receive a name. He has a blue eye that appears to have a film over it. According to the story he has quite a bit of gold in his house. The old man was also nice to the narrator, as he has never done anything to him that would provoke the murder:
“He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. 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 forever.” (Poe 1)
The next character introduced is the narrator. He is both complex and interesting. He thinks he is not crazy. As he goes out of his way to prove that his is not insane, he does the exact opposite. His relationship with the old man is unknown. However, he does say he loves the old man. “I loved the old man.” (Poe 1).
As the story begins the narrator tries to convince the reader that he is not insane. This goes on throughout the story. He says he suffers from over-acuteness. “And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?”(Poe 3).
The narrator makes every attempt to show you that his is not a deranged killer, and that he had every right to do what he did.
“TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.” (Poe 1).
Shortly after the narrator decides he is going to kill the old man, he starts to watch him sleep. For a week he comes into the old man’s room at night and watches him. He makes sure to open the door just a crack so that he can slip his head into the room. When he does get his head into the room he takes his lantern and shines a tiny beam to the old man’s eye. He comments that the eye is never looking back at him. This makes sense since the old man is sleeping. The narrator ensures you that all of his precaution means that he is not crazy. “Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me....