Literary Criticism Of The Tell Tale Heart

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Edgar Allan Poe was an American gothic writer in the 1800’s. His work is the perfect archetype of macabre writing and includes a myriad of gruesome, troubled narrators. His story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, a first person account of the murder of an old man as told by his caretaker, is no exception. The narrator claims to love the old man, but is driven to madness by the man’s “evil eye”, which is ice blue in color with a film over it, likely due to a medical condition. The narrator tells a vividly descriptive report of his own actions, insisting he is of right mind, but his story quickly turns into the ramblings of a true madman. This narrator is in no way reliable. It is even possible this murder never even occurred. Although the narrator starts his account by attempting…show more content…
During his eighth night of preparations, he awakens the old man. Presumably paralyzed fear, the old man sits upright in his bed for a full hour before letting out a slight groan. The storyteller perfectly classifies the groan as one of mortal terror, “a sound arising from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe”. He admits this is a sound he knows well, saying that during countless nights while the world is asleep, it has “welled up from my own bosom, deepening with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me.” He relates to the old man’s feelings, and he changes his point of view slightly. His story becomes omniscient, as if he is inside the old man’s brain. Although the room and house are pitch black, he knows the old man has been awake this entire time, his fears are growing, and he has been trying to logically dismiss them and comfort himself, without the old man speaking. This passage brings to light what a terribly tortured soul this narrator was, as it is impossible to connect so strongly without his own terrifying demons within
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