Obsession In Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

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Captured with Obsession

Obsession can control someone’s entire life. If people are unable to handle their fascination, it can alter their reality. Obsession can lead people to extreme acts. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” shows how a man becomes controlled by his roommate’s eye and commits murder so he does not have to see the clouded eye every day. Correspondingly, in Dennis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, a father is so determined to find his kidnapped daughter that he goes to extreme measures. Both stories depict the concept that obsession controls and leads to severe deeds in the plots, the conflicts, and the symbols. The plots of both stories can be compared through the obsession that controls the main character’s life. In Poe’s story
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The Tell-Tale Heart” shows this when the man thinks he hears a beating heart. There is no possible way for this to happen considering the way he murdered the old man, but the narrator was so paranoid that he thought he heard a constant beating. This caused him to say, “Villains! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed!¬–tear up the planks!–here, here!–it is the beating of his hideous heart” (Poe 306)! The pounding of a heart can symbolize the aching to come clean and confess what he was once obsessed over. Likewise, a whistle in Prisoners is what the movie basically revolves around. The elementary-school age daughter tried to find her whistle before she went missing. She told her parents, “The emergency whistle Daddy gave me. I lost it…” (Villeneuve). When the daughter left to retrieve the whistle, she was then abducted. By not having the whistle, she had no way to call for people to rescue her. The whistle can represent the sense of safety. In the end, when the father’s obsession got him in a troubled situation in a cellar of the kidnapper’s house, he finds the whistle his daughter has been missing and blows it. People can infer that the detective hears the whistle and finds Keller but the movie ends before anything happens. Symbols, even the simplest ones, can represent something major in literary
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