How Does Poe's Use Of Mental Illness

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Modern artists today generally use images of physical and mental illness in literature. In The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, both short stories show the usage of illness, madness, and fear. The narrators in both stories try to convince the readers that the characters are physically and mentally ill. Edgar Allen Poe creates these vivid characters which successfully assist the building of plot and ideas. Poe demonstrates how a person’s inner turmoil and terror can lead to insanity through illustrative language. The Tell-Tale Heart is a story about a nameless narrator who claims that he is not insane but rather has some sort of “disease”(Poe 303). A disease that has “sharpened [his] senses”(Poe 303). To prove that he isn’t insane, he begins by saying, “How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily” (Poe 303). The narrator shares an event from the past which he tells us about his hatred for this old man’s eye which resembled that of a “vulture, a pale blue eye, with a film over it”(Poe 303). The narrator uses these illustrative images of this pernicious eye to assist in building the plot. He is trying to convince readers that all of this is because of the “Evil eye”(Poe 303). …show more content…

The narrator attempted to cover his insanity and show that he is sane with the intention to not to get suspected by the old man. The old man with the blue eye is innocent and unconscious of what the narrator is doing. In fact, nothing the narrator tells the readers about the old man fits the common definition of insanity. However, it fits the narrator 's definition perfectly as he claims “Madmen know nothing”(Poe 303). Feeling confident the narrator shows off to the readers about how flawless his plan was, his insanity is

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