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Conscience Of A Guilty Man Essay

2212 words - 9 pages

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on the 19th of January 1809 to David Poe, Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins, who both died before Edgar was three. According to Fruzsina Iszaj, a Ph.D. student at the Personality and Health Psychology Doctoral Program and Zsolt Demetrovics, a Clinical Psychologist and Cultural Anthropologist who has a Ph.D. in health psychology, they both state that opium use might have played a role in Poe’s early death (1617). One of Poe’s most famous short stories and a classic of the Gothic fiction generation is "The Tell-Tale Heart" first published in 1843, in the Pioneer magazine (Shmoop). Poe takes readers into a dark tale about an unnamed narrator who ...view middle of the document...

Thus, Poe warns the readers that no crime, no misdeed, no wrongdoing can be done, perfect as it may seem, without consequence. This is how Poe emphasizes guilt throughout his story to his readers.
The character of the narrator is obsessed not with the old man, but the old man’s eye. The narrator says that he loved the old man and he never wronged him (Poe 368). “I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this!” (Poe 368). One of the old man’s eyes reminded the narrator of a vulture. “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so be 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 368). The Obsessed behavior of the eye relates back to the theme of guilt of the narrator to the readers.
The narrator in this short story describes his actions in first person point of view. This has an exciting effect on the extent of features the reader obtains during the story. The reader is able to recognize his thoughts in the opening, beginning off with his thinking for why he is not insane. This immediately has an enormous effect on how the reader is going to understand the story because the initial thought process is quickly thinking he is insane. Also, writing in first person narrative, this benefits the story because the reader is then able to understand why the narrator is killing this man. The narrator states in the first paragraph, "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 368). Poe uses these words to show that the readers are in the narrator’s thoughts.
Poe uses imagery to describe what is happening in the narrator’s mind. The first is the descriptions of the old man's eye, which is the reason for the murder: "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 then later, "all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones” (Poe 368). Also in the first half, you have repeated descriptions of the narrator's cautious, steady, silent stalking and waiting. The most effective repeated imagery is that of the heartbeat, which starts off as "a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton” (Poe 370). The sound of the heartbeat increases the tension just as a movie soundtrack would, and leads to the murder and confession. There are many references to clocks and time as a way to describe how slowly he moved. “A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine” (Poe 369). Poe uses imagery in The Tell Tale Heart to characterize the narrator, to see what the narrator is seeing and to feel what the narrator is feeling. It is much more than just drawing a picture. With Poe’s skillful use of imagery, the...

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