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Insanity In Tell Tale Heart By Edgar Alan Poe

1366 words - 5 pages

Every once in awhile, a case comes about in which the defendant confesses to a crime, but the defense tries to argue that at the time the defendant was not sane. This case is no different; the court knows the defendant is guilty the only aspect they are unsure about is the punishment this murderer should receive. The State is pushing for a jail sentence and strongly believes that the defendant was sane at the time of the murder. It is nearly impossible for the defense to prove their evidence burden of 51%. The State claims that the defendant was criminally responsible at the time of the murder. By using excessive exaggeration, premeditation and motive, the Prosecution will prove that the defendant knew exactly what he was doing and how wrong it was.
In a time when all one has to do is say they hear voices to be labeled insane, by claiming the was hearing things made it very easy for the defendant to have an “excuse” to fall back on. Hearing voices is not the only thing that the defendant exaggerates on. He goes into great depth speaking of his sense of super hearing, for instance, being able to hear from both the heavens and from hell. “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell” (Poe p. 1245). He also said he was hearing the old man’s heart beat. Through out his story there are many exaggerations. The defendant also speaks of being able to stay perfectly still for over an hour while holding a lantern. “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle . . .” (1246). It is humanly impossible to stand perfectly still for over an hour especially while holding a lantern. If one were to attempt this stunt they would merely last fifteen to twenty minutes before giving up from exhaustion. These over exaggerated events are so vivid and detailed that they needed the time to be thought out. These thought only could be from the mind of a clear thinking sane mind who has control over their thoughts and imagination.
Besides over exaggerating the events that have occurred, the defendant also has motive to kill the old man. He tries to make the police believe his insane motive is the old man’s eye, but the defendant slipped up when he spoke of the old man’s fortune. At the beginning of the story, he claims that he is uninterested in any type of fortune the old man has, “For his gold I had no desire” (1245). The nonchalant mention of the old man’s fortune is an important mistake made by the defendant that proves another sane part of him. A healthy and functional person of society will agree that money is one of the most common motives. He even shows the police who come to the house exactly where the fortune is and emphasizes how it is all there and has not been touched, “I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed” (1247). Having a motive is another very sane action by proving the defendant’s motive, one can prove his sanity because it is another instance that the murderer must understand why they are killing someone, which...

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