Essay: The Tell Tale Heart

Essay: The Tell Tale Heart
May 25, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: The Tell Tale Heart Academic Papers on English,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

The central problem of the story is the narrator’s motivation for killing the old man. He begins by assuring his listeners (and readers) that he loved the old man, that he did not want his gold, and that the old man had not abused him or insulted him. There was neither object nor passion for his crime; instead, it was the old man’s eye. He says that when the eye fell on him, his “blood ran cold” (Poe 15) and that he made up his mind to kill the old man and rid himself of the eye forever.

Because the narrator provides no explanation for his extreme aversion to the eye, the reader must try to understand the motivation for the crime, and thus for the story itself, in the only way possible—by paying careful attention to the details of the story and trying to determine what thematic relationship they have to one another.

The Tell-Tale Heart, like many of Poe’s other tales, seems at first to be a simple story of madness; however, as Poe well knew, there is no such thing as “meaningless madness” (Poe 17) in the short story. The madness of the narrator in this story is similar to the madness of other Poe characters who long to escape the curse of time and mortality but find they can do so only by a corresponding loss of the self—a goal they both seek with eagerness and try to avoid with terror.

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