Symbolism In The Birthmark And The Tell-Tale Heart

437 Words2 Pages
A bell. A heart. A birthmark. An eye. What do all these objects have in common? They are all used as symbols to create a portal into the protagonist's life. Symbolism is applied in both “The Birthmark” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” to help the reader better comprehend character aspects of selfishness and culpability portrayed in the protagonist. The symbol Edgar Allen Poe incorporated into “The Tell-Tale Heart” is the beating heart. The heart represented the guilt of the narrator’s subconscious for murdering an innocent man. He goes on to say “It was a low, dull, quick sound— much a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton,” (pg. 181) describing the beating of a heart when being questioned by the police. He also states “ They heard!— They…show more content…
The birthmark represented Georgiana's earthliness. The narrator goes on to tell us that Alymer thought that it was a symbol of earthliness. “This birthmark was to him a symbol of his wife’s earthliness, her capacity for sin, sorrow, decay and death. (pg. 18) The passage also states “Now, only one thing remains to be tried. If that fails, we are ruined’ ‘Why did you hesitate to tell me this?’ asked she. “Because Georgiana,” said Aylmer, in a low voice ”there is danger.” (pg. 22) This piece of evidence displays Aylmer's selfishness. Even though he was aware of the dangers of the procedure, he carried through with them. He was so caught up in the one imperfection in his wife that he was ready to do anything he could do to discard it. With so much passion for getting rid of the defect, he ultimately killed his beloved wife. In conclusion, both “The Birthmark” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” include symbols to help the reader gain access into the protagonist’s life. They take a simple object and create a way for the reader to create a better understanding of the protagonist’s actions and thoughts. For example in these stories, the authors talked about a heart and a birthmark. Symbolism shows reading is not always black and white, there is a lot of gray area. So next time an author mentions a specific thing or place, try to find the gray in
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