Mental Illness In Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

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In Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, the main character recalls an event in which he did strange, utterly deplorable things, yet still maintains through the entire retelling that he’s perfectly sane. Although he protested to the idea, after analyzing his account of the events, it is clear that this man is not mentally sound. The young man in The Tell-Tale Heart murders a kind old man he lives with. He claims to love the man, and the man had nothing he wanted. At the beginning of the story, he claims his reasoning was that the old man’s eye, which he says resembles a vulture's eye, creeped him out. However, the young man wasn’t sure that this was the reason, and it most likely wasn’t. One would think that if he killed someone over something,…show more content…
A good example of this is at the end of the story, when the constables were laughing because they were enjoying themselves. When he heard them chuckling, he assumed that they were laughing at him specifically, and were making fun of him. >transition Now, some will try to say, ‘Oh, but he can’t be crazy; he was careful through most the act!’ If everything went exactly how he claims it did, and it likely didn’t, then it is true that he was cautious. However, this jump from cautious to sane doesn’t make any sense. Mentally ill people can still be meticulous; there are many cases of people with mental issues carefully performing tasks. Besides, even if he was, this doesn’t disprove all of the other things that point to madness. This detail is really the only ‘proof’ towards his sanity, and it might be entirely fabricated.
Whatever the cause, normal people don’t kill others in cold blood, nor just because they think their eye is weird-looking. Neither do they assume that general laughter is pointed directly at them. One can argue about the extent of this young man’s issues, but they cannot deny that he is, in fact, mentally
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