Tension In The Tell Tale Heart And The Black Cat

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Poe creates tension in the “the tell-tale heart," and "the black cat," by using the elements of murder and insanity thus creating a sense of fear. The two anti-protagonists have a lot in common. Whenever they recount their history, they seem to defend their insanity. However, there are differences too. Their lifestyle, responsibilities, and relationships differ thus making both the stories unique. Poe uses the first person narrative to help build suspense in both the stories. The speaker starts by confessing his mistakes by repeating that he is not insane. For example, in the first paragraph in “tell-tale heart”, the narrator addresses the reader, “True! Yes. I have been ill, very ill. Why do you say that I have lost my mind?” He does the same thing in the black cat "Yet, mad I am not,” this…show more content…
One of the other differences is the time that the narrator takes to murder which affects the flow and the tone of the story. For example, in the “tell-tale heart”, the narrator plans cleverly and takes eight nights before killing his father "To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little." As each night progresses, the tension builds up, and with the syntax complementing the tension, Poe achieves his goal by grabbing the reader 's attention. However, in the black cat, the protagonist murders the cat and his wife under the influence of alcohol and does it unplanned. A sudden phase of rage take over him; a crime of pure passion. The Tell-Tale Heart and the Black Cat both have almost the same themes: violence, death, and insanity. Both of them are narrated by unreliable speakers adding to the element of tension and suspense. So are both the stories the reality or just a fragment of their imagination? If it is the truth, then there is no doubt that these deeds- and the men who committed it- will persist to haunt the readers for years to come; as Poe once said, "Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their
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