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Understanding Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart: Insanity Or A Stroke Of Brilliance

2709 words - 11 pages

Edgar Allen Poe’s a genius of innovation. He uses the ideas that were common concerns of the time to revolve around in his short stories. Edgar Allen Poe grew up in a rough time when both his parents died, 1811. At a young age Poe was placed with a foster family in which he was treated without any respect. He took the ideas of mental illness to a sophisticated example in his short story, “The Tell Tale Heart.” “The Tell Tale Heart” is written in the gothic style that helps establish the surreal theme. Poe’s whole purpose in writing short story is to address the idea of mental illness which he portrays in his main character. Through his writing of the short story “A Tell Tale Heart” he addresses the idea that criminals were getting away with the idea pf insanity as there escape.
To begin the story Poe has a man who sets the scenery. The man sounds like he has a sound mind. But the narrator is trying to build his case for his sanity. The idea of the obsession that the narrator has with the eye of his employer builds to the question of whether or not this was a sign of a man who has an unstable mind or is it all just a ploy to get away with murder.
Does the narrator show weakness through this mental illness or is it a sophistical mind of a genius? This is the question that must be answered here. Throughout this discussion we will prove that the narrator is a man of a conscience mind and committed the crime of murder. Along with that we will expose Poe’s true significance of writing this short story, and how people were getting away with crime by justifying that they were insane.
Let’s take a look at Exhibit A that proves that the narrator is not insane rather acting that way to get away from getting punished. “The Tell Tale Heart” begins by the narrator bring up the question of his mental state, “TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Poe, 1938)
This is the first instance we see that the narrator confesses truly to his crime. But a critic by the name of Bynum thinks of Poe’s writing as the narrator being a man who is insane. Bynum believes in the idea that the narrator being insane stems from his nervousness in the in the beginning of the story. Bynum goes on in the later portions of the story to explain the idea of insanity in the story.
“He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.” (Poe, 1938)
This sentence that Bynum uses to defend his idea that the insanity is legitimate response. Bynum justifies that this is first step that the narrator becomes obsessed with the eye which led to the murder of the kind old man and that only an insane person would do such an action. But I completely disagree with this ideology.
“No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and...

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