The Tell Tale Heart Essay

925 words - 4 pages

  "Now this is the point. Your fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me"(42 Backpack Literature). Reading such words can create a wide imagination about what the character is truly like. The narrator in the story has an indirect personality where as you read you find out more and more about him.The narrator in Edger Allen Poe's "The Tell- Tale Heart" seems like he makes himself completely insane but as readers we are never told of any psychological problems, if any, that he may have.The characterization by Poe of the narrator crease a puzzle which makes the story interesting. I would characterize the narrator as being secretive, insane and nervous.
  First off, Poe did an excellent job of hiding the physical identity of the narrator by not including a gender, name, age or even features of what the narrator looks like. Not being able to understand what the character looks like is a bit aggravating because knowing the gender you could come up with other possible motives for killing him other than his eye. The narrators relationship is never explained but we have to assume that he has some type of relationship with the old man. I think that was Poe's intention so the reader could have a complete understanding that people can commit crimes without having a reason. The narrator is not secretive when expressing his thoughts towards the old man. For example the narrator says " Object there was none. Passion there was none. I love the old man. He had never wrong me. He had never given me insult." (42 Backpack Literature). This quote was important to emphasize the point that the narrator had no real motive to kill the old man and all of his reasoning was hidden inside his head. Being secretive helps explain other characteristics that Poe included.
  Next, a characteristic that the narrator displays would be insanity. Reading about how he could want to kill someone over an eye seemed crazy to me. The narrator wants us to believe he is insane and I believe he really is. The narrator watches the old man sleep and plans to kill him for over a week. His internal thoughts keep expanding inside his head which causes him to become even more insane. In the story when the cops are inside the house the narrator knows that he does not want to expose the murder and he believes the officers are satisfied. We could assume that the cops are mysterious because they do not just leave once the narrator explains what happens. Instead the narrator drives himself more insane when he "hears the heartbeat" of the old man. For example " God! What could I do? I foamed- I raved- I swore! I...

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