With Reference To Both 'the Tell Tale Heart' And The 'cask Of Amontillado', How Does Edgar Allan Poe Manipulate Similar Narrative Techniques To Create A Different Impact In Character And Setting?

908 words - 4 pages

Poe skilfully manipulates narrative techniques to create powerful, sophisticated and greatly varied impacts in character and setting. He is completely in control of the impact on the reader, and he uses this to his advantage to convey meaning in his writing.A vital technique that Poe employs is voice, or the use of first person narrative. This is a tool that allows Poe to imply authority, and add depth to his characters. Voice is an excellent signifier of emotions. It allows for shifts in tone and pace, which mirror changes in the character's thoughts. Voice can imply the state of mind, attitudes and values of a character, and give insight to their mind, soul and spirit. Voice provides an opportunity to describe setting from a character's point of view, forcing the reader to believe and become a part of the story.In 'The Tell-Tale Heart', the voice used is that of the murderer. The voice is full of pride, vanity and egotism. The character is insane. The murderer is unstable and the reader cannot trust him. His tone is celebratory and revelatory. Through the use of voice, he portrays himself as psychotic, unsound and deranged. The reader is made to feel uncomfortable and disorientated.The setting in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is not described in great detail. The reader knows the events are taking place in the old man's house, and that there are neighbours relatively close by. The common gothic motif of darkness is used, and the reader takes this as a reason for the lack of detail. Poe has cleverly used voice to keep the reader's attention on the actual happenings of the story.In 'The Cask of Amontillado', the voice is also that of the villain. The first person narrative allows the reader into Montressor's head to learn that he wants revenge. This is an excellent idea from Poe as the story can now be understood without the reason for revenge being clear. The reader can not see the logic in the crime, can not understand or relate to it. The ambiguity mesmerises the reader to become curious and engaged in the story. Montressor presents himself as manipulative and sly, and from his narration the reader learns his secrets and inner-most thoughts. Poe's first person narration offers an element that dialogue can not give.The setting in 'The Cask of Amontillado' is extremely important. In the end, it is essentially the setting - the vaults - that bring Fortunato to his death. Voice allows for the foreshadowing in the story. The vaults are described as "insufferably damp" and "encrusted with nitre". Montressor advises Fortunato that it is a dangerous place for him, and that he should not go there, and...

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