Obsession With A Hint Of Insanity: Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Telltale Heart”

718 words - 3 pages

Obsession with murder can lead an unwary victim to an untimely death. The narrator from Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Telltale Heart” insists he remains sane but cannot restrain himself from the inevitable. The narrator becomes bothered, obsessed and fascinated with the old man’s vulture-like eye. One night the narrator pounced on the old man, through him on the floor, and suffocated him with the mattress. The narrator chopped up the body and hid the pieces under three floor boards in his room. The narrator invited the police in and talked for a while. The narrator sat on a chair above the floor boards filled the corpse. The narrator recalled old man’s eye in his mind as it started to bother him so much he screamed out in agony, ripping up the floor boards admitting his wrong doing. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Telltale Heart” the narrator illustrates his insanity through obsession and murder.
The narrator’s only motive for killing the old man was his eye. As quoted in the text, “Whenever it (the old man’s eye) fell upon me, my blood ran cold”, this indicates that the narrator became frightened or even intimidated. The narrator around midnight “looked in upon him (the old man) while he slept.” The narrator is starting to mentally break down with each passing night as he stalks the old man. The narrator then summons the courage to murder the old man on the eighth night but it wasn’t just the eye that pushed him over the edge. As he was standing over the old man he became aware if the “beating of the old man’s heart”. It represented not just the old man’s heart but his own heart as he started to become nervous. The more he waited the more loudly and faster the beating continued. Before finally “The old man’s hour had come!”
We know the old man was brutally suffocated with the mattress and chopped into pieces placed underneath the narrator’s floorboards. “I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bead over him.” Even...

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