Tell Tale Heart Central Idea

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An old man, his caretaker’s festering obsession, a murder, and the guilt and confession that follows it all. In the short story “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe, there are multiple central ideas that guide the reader in understanding and interpreting the narrator’s emotions, decisions, thoughts and actions. One of, if not the most, important central idea is the one that overlooks the entire story; desires and actions, followed by consequences. This idea is a coalition of three other important themes in the story; madness, obsession, and guilt. At almost every point in the story, at least one of these ideas is prevalent in the narrator’s actions, thoughts, or dialogue. Poe uses structural choices such as repetition, punctuation, pacing…show more content…
Also introduced in the initial paragraphs is one concept that is repeated extensively throughout the story, the narrator’s belief that he is not in fact mad, which ironically only highlights his madness even more. Also within the first two paragraphs, Poe inducts another important idea that shall be repeated time and time again; obsession. More precisely, the narrator’s obsession with the old man’s eye, and his hatred for it, which is so powerful it will drive him to kill the old man just to be rid of it. Poe introduces a strong base in the first few paragraphs, then reiterates and expands upon what he has already said to remind the reader of themes of the past, at the same time as they are affecting the…show more content…
At this moment the factor that sends him over the edge appears; the heart, or in other words, the narrators guilt. The narrator hears the old man’s heartbeat, and fears the neighbors will hear it, and this thought drives him to finally kill the old man. After the grisly deed is done, he cleans up and hides the body, just before policemen arrive to investigate the old man’s scream. At first he is jovial with them, he knows he will not be caught. But ere long, he begins to hear the heartbeat again, as his guilt over the crime wells up within him. It grows louder and louder as time passes, the narrator thinks his guilt, the heartbeat, so obvious that the police must have heard. In his mind, he knows they will find out, so he confesses. Whether it is repetition, the narrator explaining time and time again how crafty he prepared. Or through pacing and time, such as the fast pacing in the first and last paragraphs, or the slow pace in the middle of the story, Poe introduces and heavily reinforces three central ideas in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The story is filled with the narrator’s madness, obsession and his guilt, and because of Poe structural use of repetition, time, and punctuation allows the reader to see the changes as they occurred in the narrator’s
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