The Tell Tale Heart Symbolism Essay

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“The Tell-Tale Heart” is a popular short story written by Edgar Allen Poe in the mid 1800’s. The story highlights two main characters, a narrator and an old man. The narrator of the story does not like the old man’s creepy eye. As a result, the narrator decides it is time to murder the old man. After the narrator murders him, he begins trying to cover up the crime. He hides the old man’s body under a floorboard and all is well until he thinks he hears the old man’s heart beating under the floor. Poe fills his story with many literary elements; however, symbolism is the most effective element used. Throughout “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe uses symbolism through the heart, eye, and watch. The old man’s heart is a crucial symbol in the short story. The old man’s heart symbolizes the narrator’s guilt. When talking to the police after he murders the old man, the narrator thinks that he hears the old man’s heart beating under the floorboard (Poe). Poe uses the beating heart to symbolize the guilt the…show more content…
In the story, the old man’s eye symbolizes the narrator’s true identity that he refuses to recognize. The narrator states at the beginning of the story that the old man has nothing wrong with him except his eye. The narrator even admits to liking the old man. However, he says he could see nothing else of the old man’s face or his character. He could only focus on the ugly eye (Poe). He describes the eye as evil, yet the narrator is the one who kills without motive and dismembers his victims body. The narrator compares the eye to a vulture; however, he is the one who stalks the old man and eventually preys on him. The narrator does not ever admit that he is evil and ugly on the inside, but his true identity is very clearly portrayed through the symbolism of the old man’s eye. The narrator’s denial and failure to realize his madness cause him to kill the man. Yet, this is not the last symbol Poe presents in his
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