This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart And The Symbolism Of The Eye

1242 words - 5 pages

Edgar Allen Poe is the genius responsible for dark, twisting, and often uncomfortably wondrous gothic tales, and one of the best is 'The Tell-Tale Heart.' This is a classic tale of a confused man who is so incredibly bothered by his housemate's eye, that he (I am assuming this sexless character is male) thinks the only solution is to resort to cold-blooded murder. Poe incorporates the symbol of the old man's eye in 'The Tell-Tale Heart,' which has both physical and psychological meaning, it also helps to develop the plot and central conflicts in the story. The eye allows a better understanding of the narrator's mental state, represents an omniscient/fatherly figure, and helps illustrate the theme of good verses evil.

The story?s conflict revolves around the narrator plotting, planning, and executing a man?s death, yet it is the eye that causes this man?s obsession with murder. Another important conflict in the story is that of the narrators struggle to prove he is sane, he does this by trying to make the eye seem evil, more evil than his own deeds. The only reason the narrator gives for his decision of murder is the man?s eye, and it is the eye the narrator must see before he can actually kill the man. In the end of the story, the disposing of the eye actually leads to the narrator?s downfall. As you can see, the eye is the story?s main conflict, which helps to develop the plot, and really allows for a deeper understanding of the story.

The author uses the eye to provide clues as to why the narrator is so unreliable. ?I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this!? (Poe 721), the narrator uses the statement ?I think?, implying that he is obviously not very sure, and definitely unstable, since something he ?thinks? is a problem is serious enough to kill over. The eye is described as being physically disturbing: ?pale blue eye, with a film over it?(Poe 721), which also leads us to believe the narrator is unstable, since even though it sounds very unattractive, it?s still not a valid reason for a sane person to kill over. The narrator tries to prove his sanity by illustrating how ?wisely? and ?cunningly? (Poe 722) he observed the old man?s eye the week before he killed him, yet the fact that he watched the man for hours every night just looking for the eye contradicts any sanity he could have claimed from being wise and cunning.

The narrator makes it clear that it was the old man?s eye and not the old man himself that drove him to murder. He says ?I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult,?(Poe 721) which shows that he obviously cared for the man, but this also tells us that the narrator is definitely mentally ill, since no sane person could kill someone he loves, especially over an eye!

The narrator is constantly trying to prove his sanity, yet we can conclude that he actually, if not consciously, subconsciously understands he is going mad. He is the one that first puts the idea of him being mad in the...

Find Another Essay On Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart and the Symbolism of the Eye

Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

2123 words - 8 pages Edgar Allen Poe has explored three different themes: His own life, the nameless narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and the literary criticism on “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Edgar Allen Poe began his life in Boston, MA on the 19th of January in the year 1809 (Kennedy). He was the 2nd son of David Poe, Jr., a famous actor, and the actress known as Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe. David, his father, deserted his family a year after Poe was born, and

Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell Tale Heart

1632 words - 7 pages A Tell-Tale Spirit In 1843, author Edgar Allan Poe crafted a haunting story about a man who commits murder because he finds an old mans’ pale eye unsettling. This story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, is one of many masterfully written stories crafted by the gifted writer. Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts but was orphaned at the young age of three. His foster parents surrounded him with material comfort in

Control or Insanity in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"

741 words - 3 pages Control or Insanity in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".Poe weld's the full moon at midnight, like a beacon enlightening the truth that lies in the knowledge that madness is created by ones own inability to handle ones reality. When we try to define human nature, we must consider the balance of both good and evil. Many times these qualities exist simultaneously and maintain a balance, but sometimes this stability is lost and the evil side

Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death

2457 words - 10 pages McKenzie Hopkins Ms. Williams Comp. II April 25, 2014 Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Masque of the Red Death” When people think of Edgar Allan Poe, they probably think of dark writing and murders. His writings have been printing since the early 1800’s. (Giordano ) Many of his works are literally classics, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” Much like most of his stories, Poe’s life was a dark

The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

688 words - 3 pages The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado are two stories written by Edgar Allen Poe in the 18th century. Both of these stories are primarily focused on the mysterious and dark ways of the narrator. Since these stories were written by the same author, they tend to have several similarities such as the mood and narrative, but they also have a few differences. For instance, the characteristics of both narrators are different, but both

Tension in Edgar Allen Poe´s The Tell Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado

1003 words - 5 pages Tension is a commonly used tool to hook and grasp the readers’ attention, by using conflict to raise the emotional intensity to a maximum. Edgar Allen Poe’s display of tension can be identified in two of his gothic fiction works, The Tell Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado. Both stories are confessions of a murder told in first person. The Tell Tale Heart is regarding a man killing an old man simply because of a vulgar eye, without any

Insanity in The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

1321 words - 5 pages 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

Contradictions on the "Tell-Tale Heart' by Edgar Allen Poe

1071 words - 4 pages he is trying to find comfort. The narrator basically said that the old man is scared, then not scared, and finally, scared again.§The narrator speaks of the eye of the old man that bothered him. He describes it as "a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it" (Poe 293). He describes it as if it is something weak, without strength, for it cannot even tell when a beam of light is on it, as the narrator did every night, for eight consecutive

The Tell-Tale Heart and the Similarities With Edgar Allen Poe

1228 words - 5 pages left. The narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart struggled adjacently to his creator in the same twisted worlds they were desperately trying to escape: their own minds. The similarities are visible in the conscious and subconscious decision making processes of the two men. Poor emotional regulation was a constant topic of discussion and cause of drama in the works of Poe. Although it is cleverly disguised throughout his writing, Edgar Allan Poe projected a

Edgar Allan Poe's Tell Tale Heart and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band

2916 words - 12 pages Edgar Allan Poe's Tell Tale Heart and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe, both authors who are eminent for the content of their stories, wrote about crime. Though they invented stories concerning crime, they both wrote through different perspectives. This essay is going to compare how the characters of both stories, 'Tell Tale Heart' written by Poe, and 'The Adventure of

How Does Edgar Allen Poe Create a Feeling of Madness Throughout "the Tell-Tale Heart"?

1157 words - 5 pages Edgar Allen Poe was an American Writer who wrote within the genre of horror and science fiction. He was famous for writing psychologically thrilling tales examining the depths of the human psyche. This is true of the Tell-Tale Heart, where Poe presents a character that appears to be mad because of his obsession to an old mans, ‘vulture eye’. Poe had a tragic life from a young age when his parents died. This is often reflected in his stories

Similar Essays

Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat, The Tell Tale Heart And The Cask Of Amontillado

1647 words - 7 pages Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Black Cat,' 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' In each of Edgar Allen Poe's stories of murder and madness, he takes us inside the mind of the murderer from the time he begins until after the deed has been done. Poe gives us a point of view not common in works of horror and suspense: the killers. We read the thoughts and follow the actions of the killer as he plots and follows through with his

Gotic Themes In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart"

1347 words - 5 pages In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Edgar Allan Poe revolves the story around a raving individual and the object in which he obsesses over. This theme of insanity is progressed throughout the entire story by Poe's style of gothic writing. Gothic-style writing is defined by using these elements: abnormal psychological behavior, creating a gloomy or threatening atmosphere, connections between the setting and its characters' thought processes or behavior

Creating Suspense In Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart

2135 words - 9 pages Creating Suspense in Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart In the gothic genre there are numerous techniques the author can use to add interest and suspense to a story, such as the choice of words, the time of day and pathetic fallacy, to name but a few. In the Tell Tale- Heart Poe uses psychosis, detail, and appeal to the reader to keep us on the edge of our seats. These are just some examples of what makes the story so thrilling

Symbolism In The Tell Tale Heart By Edgar Allen Poe

1170 words - 5 pages Symbolism in The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe Like many of Edgar Allen Poe's works, 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is full of death and darkness. Poe used many of the real life tragedies he experienced as inspiration for his gothic style of writing. Poe dealt with many aspects of death and madness in his stories, madness again is playing a key role in the plot. In this short story Poe used literary devices such as point of view and