The Narrator in the Tell-Tale Heart

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The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe is being told by a narrator who is angry. The narrator tells all his motives from the beginning by addressing his issue of the old man’s eye to the reader. The story he tells is based on his view to defend his place even though he insists that he’s not crazy, but his actions say it all. The narrator spends many nights watching the man sleep. On the last night the narrator wakes the old man while watching him. He stays silent and unmoving in darkness. The narrator is very known that the old man is petrified and trying to down play all the noises. The narrator tells himself that he hears the old man heart beating. The fear of hearing the old man heart beat wakes up the neighbors and then he kills him. The man cuts the limbs off the old man and hides it under the floorboards. Then at the end he could get away with this, but he admits to the police what he did. The only reason why he admitted to it because he thought him hearing the old man heartbeat. This automatically shows me how crazy the narrator is even though he tries to be very convincing. I found this story to be very horrifying but also entertaining and it was my favorite story by Edgar Allan Poe.

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I argue that the narrator of the Tell-Tale Heart is a complete reversal of the American Adam because of his obsessive mind with the old man that he lived with and his evil eye. The narrator had explained how he killed the old man in detail and how the heart beating of the old man sounds like the heartbeat of his heart. In the story there was many sources of the old man heart sounding like ticking of a watch wrapped in cotton. The killing of the old man and how evil he had only destroyed him at the end, then also exposing himself. To prove my argument, I will focus on three traits of the Anti-American Adam which are, not innocent, tricky smooth, evil emotion. For the tricky and smoothness trait the narrator shows are also in the middle to end because that’s when he says how he got rid of evidence. The innocence of is at the end of the story when he confesses his deed as he can’t ignore the loud sound of his own guilt and crime. We can see what he is hearing is his own conscience, forcing himself to do whatever he has to because there are consequences for his actions. The narrator that hears this sound. Therefore, either way he forces him to confess, by saying this out loud, “It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

The narrator of the story shows us a trait of the dark side of Romanticism with the evil emotions in his heart and how he felt inside about the old man’s eye. In the middle of story, Poe the narrator talks in a furious tone by really looking into the old man’s eye. He felt like the old man eye was watching him and judging him. The narrator felt the eye was so bad he had to do something about it and destroy it. Poe writes, It was open wide, wide open and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctiveness all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones (668). As we see in this quote Poe describing the old man’s eye and how he despises it and how he’s really looking into the man’s eye really shows how he feels. Also, in his heart he is feeling evil within himself, but he was very jealous that the old man had a glass eye and saying how perfect it had looked. Another quote I found that shows how evil the man is of the old man is, 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 (666). This showed how he was thinking about killing the old man from getting anger built up from looking at the old man’s eye. The narrator evil emotion then turns into a horrifying murder of the old man.

Poe goes in detail of how he murdered he old man and how smooth and tricky he did it in the story for instance, The night waned and I worked hastily, but in silence. First, I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye not even his could have detected anything wrong ( Poe 669). This quote shows how smoothly he tried to murder the old man by cutting off his body parts and way he is describing it and then he said he was doing all this silently and how he put in under the flooring. Nobody will find any evidence on the old man murder in his mind he thinks nothing is going to go wrong. Another quote to show the smoothness of the narrator from murdering the old man, He also said there wasn’t anything left from this such as blood or stains and he was so happy he cleaned up everything and cleaned out stuff from murdering the old man. The narrator smoothness during this murder shows how bad his motives were but smooth it was.

The narrator switch after being so evil trying to be innocent even though he’s not. At the end of story is where you see the act of being innocent towards the police, The officers were satisfied. My manners had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone (669). This shows how the narrator how he tried to act if he’s not guilty of the murder of old man and try to be all cheerful and innocent in front of the police. The narrator at the end of story can no longer act innocent he ends up losing it and shouting something to the police Poe writes, Villains! I shrieked, dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here it is the beating of his hideous heart! (670). At this point of the story the man can’t take it anymore of the murder. The beating of heart in still in his head and making him crazy. He realizes he cannot live like this and it would lead up to anger and madness. So, he admits to the police to stop the sound of the heart beating. The heart beating is his guilty conscience. The man doesn’t really have it inside him being a murderer because he can’t live his life like that.

From the examination of the narrator it’s clear that he is evil and try act innocent until the end of the story where he breaks, and how smooth he is with his tricks during this murder. After the murder the man believed he was going to get away with it. All these traits show how evil he was in the heart because anybody who chops somebody’s body and then putting it under the floorboards is very evil and something is wrong with them. Throughout this whole story it showed how obsessed the narrator was about the old man’s eye and how he had love for him but still wanted to kill him. All in all the narrator shows how the man was so confident he could do this which he did and he thought his plan was going to work but when it came to being asked questions about this by police he tried to act innocent and changed his manners real quick until he shouted he was going to admit to the murder and that showed how he wasn’t so tough after all or a so called heart murderer. Most people who are murders or know they are tough aren’t just going to easily say they did the crime until later on maybe when there is evidence or witness or something that already shows they are guilty. The story tries to tell many stories, one thing from the story that I found to talk on nobody should not hate or dislike someone just because the way they looked. I ask myself why do racism exists and the story brings a clear image of the insanity that goes on in the minds of people who are racist Simply wanting to kill an innocent old man, just because of his glass eye and the way it looked is crazy and no matter how people try to rationalize it.

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The Narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart. (2019, Aug 12). Retrieved December 2, 2022 , from
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