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Poe, The Narrator And Literary Criticism In Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”

1146 words - 5 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.” The Tell-Tale Heart, is a story, although, not revealed, about father-son incest (Kachur). Throughout the story, the old man was the “eye”, or “vulture’s eye” as the narrator calls it. The “eye” is what kept the narrator unnerved, and was the main reason that drove him to kill the man (Madi and Shadi). In the beginning of the story, the narrator said, “I loved the old man. 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! One of his eyes resembled ...view middle of the document...

His “vulture eye” unknowingly staring at the narrator. As that happened, the narrator furiously thought, “It was open—wide, wide open—and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness—all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot” (Poe). After, the narrator had finally done it, he killed the old man. After he did, the narrator realized that there were neighbors so he decided to put the bed over him and keep hidden (Poe). When realizing he had neighbors, the narrator thought, “And now a new anxiety seized me—the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once—once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead” (Poe). The narrator had visitors, yet he believed he hid the old man’s body well enough, that he had nothing to fear from the visitors discovering the body (Poe). The narrator thought, “I smiled,—for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search—search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim” (Poe).
The narrator is clearly mad, especially at this point in the short story.

Works Cited
Kennedy, J. Gerald. "Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849)." Mystery and Suspense Writers:...

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