Irony In The Tell-Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

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In literature, the most satisfying stories have an ironic element to them. The irony unravels many characterics of the story without directly stating it and in turn, tells the opposite of what is presented, and Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” shows how this can enhance a story. This gothic fiction focuses on an unnamed narrator as he tries to justify his various actions against an old man. Through his attempts, however, contradictions and irony in his actions start to appear. Poe uses irony in “The Tell-Tale Heart” to show how the narrator's attempts to present his sanity reveals his insanity through his various actions and dialogue.
The narrator’s insanity is revealed through the irony of his dialogue. For instance, …show more content…

An example of this is seen as the narrator stalks the startled old man and causes him to groan in fear and the narrator laughs, “I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart” (Poe). Laughing at others’ misfortune is already an action that does not show good character, but this is highlighted more since the narrator claims to pity him in the same sentence. This is another contradiction. People can not reasonably pity an innocent person while also causing a person’s misfortune and laughing in the act of doing it. This allows the readers to safely assume that the narrator is not a reasonable person. Another instance is also seen during the beginning when the narrator resolves to murder the old man, “I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (Poe). Instead of avoiding the man for his eye or even ignoring it, the narrator takes up the option of just murdering the old man. The narrator in the story tries to justify his murder to reveal that he is in fact not insane, however, killing a man because of his eye is not a probable justification for murder and as such deemed a murder. The irony is held since the narrator tries to escape being called crazy, but murdering an innocent man over a pointless facial feature. Overall, the inclusion of irony into the narrator’s actions reveal his true dark character, which he often tries to

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