The Tell Tale Heart Personification Analysis

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Edgar Allan Poe is an acclaimed American author best known for his works of Gothic literature. Poe is considered to be an incredibly influential figure of the Romanticism movement, typically noted by historians and literary critics for his unique style and intense darkness in theme and mood. His style is often marked by emotive, descriptive language, and often uses a vast variety of literary devices to amplify the dark ideas and atmospheres of his pieces. Of this, Poe’s uses of personification and symbolism within The Tell-Tale Heart are absolutely exemplary of his unique style. In The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe uses personification to convey the ideas and mood of his piece. This is most prominent in the intense personification of death. First,…show more content…
One example of this in the lantern depicted in the story. The narrator uses the lantern as a tool for his murder of the old man, and describes how he enters the man’s room for a week, every night, and, “[the narrator] undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye,” (Poe 1). He uses this lantern to see the Evil Eye, and ultimately uses it as a method of startling the old man, on the night that the narrator murders him. The lantern can be seen as a symbol for positive forces -- or in some cases, literal light -- used in negative fashions. The narrator uses light to commit a dark atrocity. This adds layer of depth to the mood by expressing a more complex sense of horror and evil, showing how positive things can be used in negative ways. Another symbol in the story is the bed. In the story, the narrator uses the light to frighten the man, then, “[the narrator] dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him,” (Poe 3). The bed is much alike the lantern in what it symbolises - a positive force being used in a negative fashion. In culture, beds are typically regarded as a “safe” space of sorts; a location in which people are private and often vulnerable. In literature, bedrooms are usually personal and safe places, commonly symbolizing a place of peace and serenity. The narrator using the old man’s own bed as the weapon in which he murders the old man is a prime example of the idea of positive forces used for negative purposes -- an idea which creates a creepier and more frightening mood, by taking things the reader likely regards as safe and using them for violence and aggression. This may evoke fear from a reader, and this makes the overall mood of the story much more unsettling. Poe’s use of symbolism to convey a general theme contributes greatly to create a more complexly dark
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