Motivation In The Tell Tale Heart

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In the short story, the “Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the unnamed narrator reveals his motivation through monologue while retelling the events of a murder to his audience. The tale is told in chronological order beginning with his reason for killing “the old man.” He proceeds to explain how rationally he planned and committed the murder. Finally, the narrator discloses why he confesses the successful murder to the police officers. As the story progresses, it is clear through the tone and voice that he is mentally collapsing under the burden of his guilt and psychosis. The story begins with a confession. The narrator tells us, “True! – Nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am.” In this context, nervous means…show more content…
He illustrates his sanity by explaining how carefully he planned and executed the old man’s murder. “Ha! would a madman have been so wise” to “cautiously” practice entering the old man’s room.
The meticulousness of his planning is illustrate in “the wise precautions I took in the concealment of the body.” He explains, “First I dismembered the corpse.” Then he hides the body under the floorboards of the room. The narrator is particularly proud of the forethought in using a tub to catch the blood that would have stained the room testifying to the murder. The motivation for the narrator’s attention to detail was to hide the murder. This is why the narrator was not troubled when the police officers first arrive on the scene. He tells us, “I smiled, - for what had I to fear?” The narrator explains to the police officers that “the shriek” that prompted them to come to the house “was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country.” The narrator then gives the police officers a tour of the house audaciously ending in the old man’s bedroom. It wasn’t until he boldly placed his own chair over the old man’s grisly resting place that the tone of the story again descends into
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