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The Telling Of A Tale Essay

678 words - 3 pages

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Tell-Tale Heart” focuses on the murder of an old man by an unknown narrator. The old man is said to have an “evil eye”, however, there is never an explanation for why the narrator believes this. The narrator then murders the old man and begins to describe why the murder is justifiable, and that he is not “mad”. A plausible theory for the death of the old man could be that the narrator suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and believes he needed to get rid of the “evil eye” for his own safety. The symptoms for paranoid schizophrenia include delusions, auditory hallucinations, anxiety, violence, and so on. These symptoms could explain certain quirks about the narrators hearing “...all things in the heaven and in the earth ...heard many things in hell.” (Kennedy 279) his violence “...I dismembered the corpse” (281) and the narrator constantly contemplating on their every action.
If there is something that stands out it’s the countless times the narrator has auditory hallucinations. We are first introduced to this symptom when the narrator hears heaven, earth and hell. Also hears death watches, which are thought to be an omen of death and ultimately, the narrator hears the pounding heart of a dead man. In an article written by Zimmerman he explains that “‘Tell-Tale Heart’” [...] presented [...] paranoid schizophrenic decades before nosologists coined the term and recognized the cluster of symptoms specific to that mental illness” so one can assume that Poe had perhaps been describing an illness he in-fact suffered. Furthermore, throughout the short story the narrator does not try to prove his innocence but rather his sanity, by stating he is not mad, and providing “examples” of things madmen would not do.
The narrator demonstrates their personal fears and paranoia by stating "I knew the sound very well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me" (Kennedy 280) but then...

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