Symbolism In Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

1317 Words6 Pages

How does it feel to be completely lost without knowing you are lost? Always having to constantly reassure yourself of your own sanity? In the short story “Tell-Tale Heart,” Edgar Allen Poe follows the thoughts of a young man who has just committed a murder and is recounting the event in his thoughts. In doing so, he tries to justify his actions and affirm his sanity. “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me” (Poe). Poe’s gothic style brings forth a grotesque and thrilling story full of symbolism that seeks to make the tale much more visual for the reader. He transmits the emotions and feelings of the perpetrator in an attempt to draw the reader into his mind. Without this symbolism, the reader would miss the profound torment of the narrator. The young man blames his dreadful actions on the eye of the old man. He is incorrigibly convinced that the old man’s eye put a hex on him, causing him to be “haunted day and night” (Poe). The old man’s eye is pale blue with a film over it, indicating some sort of eye disorder. Symbolically, an eye is viewed as a window to the soul, to one’s true self. The narrator is fearful of being …show more content…

Throughout “Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe inserts symbolism that is meant to visually stimulate the reader and to expose the emotions of the narrator at a deeper level. By drawing comparisons to a vulture, beetle, darkness, and the heartbeat, Poe draws us into the story and demonstrates the depth of the young man’s struggle with madness. The symbolism shapes Poe’s view that human nature is fragile and can be easily swayed. Once human’s have their mind set on a particular idea, it is very hard, and nearly impossible, to get them to see things differently. It is a perceptual narrowing whereby the young man skews everything he sees and hears into an omen dictating the old man’s impending

Show More
Open Document