Rhetorical Techniques In The Tell Tale Heart

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While Edgar Allan Poe as the narrator of the The Tell-Tale Heart has the reader believe that he was indeed sane, his thoughts and actions throughout the story would prove otherwise. As the short story unfolds, we see the narrator as a man divided between his love for the old man and his obsession with the old man’s eye. The eye repeatedly becomes the narrator’s pretext for his actions, and while his delusional state caused him much aggravation, he also revealed signs of a conscience. In the first paragraph of the short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe establishes an important tone that carries throughout his whole story, which is ironic. The narrator proclaims that there is no possible way that he could be a madman, because he is too calm and wise to be insane. In the end of the story however, his own guilty heart made him admit to killing the old man. The narrator could take it no longer and …show more content…

He uses the rhetorical technique of repetition and manipulates the meaning of his words to show the extent of the narrator’s madness. “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded-- with what caution-- with what foresight-- with what dissimulation I went to work!” The narrator believes himself to be very intelligent and clever when he goes into the old man’s room at midnight. Poe’s word choice of “caution” and “how wisely” represents the man’s view of his own sanity. Yet the act he performs and the reasoning behind his murderous intention convinces the reader that the narrator has lost his sanity. He plots and is driven to kill a man after claiming, “ I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire.” (quote paragraph xx) To kill an innocent person because of what he describes as the old man’s “vulture eye,” removes any possible claim to being

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