Comparing Insanity In The Tell-Tale Heart And The Black Cat

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The theme in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” has one prominent similarity regarding the descent into insanity and the underlying mentality of the two main characters. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story about a guy who kills an old man because of his “evil eye.” The narrator feels guilty about killing an old man, and he finally confesses his crime. In “The Black Cat,” an insane narrator tells the story about the murder of his cat and wife. As the narrator’s drinking gets out of control, he begins abusing his pets and wife, and kills them in the end. In both stories, the main characters’s sanity is definitely in question, and their reactions clearly express that the narrators of the two stories feel guilty about what they have done.
First of all, the main character of “The Tell-Tale Heart” opens the story by insisting that he is nervous, but not mad: “True! - nervous - very very dreadfully nervous I had been, and am; but why will you say that I am mad? . . . How,
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Harken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story” (1187). The narrator does not stand the old man’s eyes, and decides to kill him: “I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (1187). I feel that the old man’s eyes represent human identity or soul, and the narrator has no choice but to kill the old man to get away from the evil eyes: “For it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye” (1187). One of the interesting parts in this story is that he excessively cares about how he is viewed by people: “And now a new anxiety seized me – the sound would be heard by a neighbor!” (1188), and he murders the old man to prove his sanity, which is very ironic. Moreover, the narrator does not share any information about him. He tells the story focusing on what he did, but he does not say things about who he is. I think that this is
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