Ambiguity In The Tell Tale Heart

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Edgar Allan Poe utilizes an interesting writing style in that he directs his readers’ attentions by ambiguity and lack of details, ironically enough. By creating confusion and raising more questions than answers, Poe creates contrast between the elements of violence. Instead of focusing strictly on the crime itself, Poe draws attention to the guilt aspect by rational justification of an irrational act. In The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe’s narrator discusses the theme of morality in the act of committing violence through projection of the narrator, fear of death and physiological reactions.
Poe’s narrator projects his own emotions and fears onto the blind, old man. When the narrator begins to describe the reason behind his violence, he
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The short story begins with the narrator admitting to his illness; however he distinguishes being “ill” from [losing] control of [his] mind.” Instead of becoming weaker, the narrator believes that “the illness only made [his] mind, [his] feelings, [his] senses stronger, more powerful.” He falsely credits his newfound virility to his illness. By justifying his illness as a positive thing, the narrator leaves a gaping hole in his confidence and the readers can pick up on his fear. He tries to rationally justify an irrational behavior by showing positives. To further illustrate this point, it is important to remember that the narrator often projects his emotions onto the old man and so when he sits he hears “a low cry of fear which escaped from the old man,” and he “knew that [the old man]… was filled with fear.” He projects his own fears onto this old man. The narrator fears mortality, which the old man and his blue eye…show more content…
He attempts to justify his deed through confidence. However, his violence just proves that he is in fact mad and not just ill. The Tell-Tale Heart takes on an interesting perspective of the murderer himself and only Poe is able to illustrate this perspective while still showing holes in the rationality provided by the narrator. He thoroughly explains the theme of mortality through violence despite his lack of details of the violence itself through projection of the narrator on the old man, fear of mortality and physiological reactions of the
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