The Tell-Tale Heart Literary Analysis

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In “The Tell Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allan Poe, a diseased ridden madman violently murders an old gentleman. The story follows a madman who has convinced himself to get rid of the old man’s “eye.” After sliding a bed over the old man, the main character cuts up the body and buries it under the floorboards, only to admit to the dreadful deed later on when the police arrive. The trial has ended. The jury has found the defendant guilty. Now, we await his sentence. Based on his symptoms and his methods, the defendant should be sentenced to 25 years in a maximum security psychiatric ward. To begin with, the main character shows many symptoms of insanity. He describes how “the disease had sharpened [his] senses - not destroyed them” (Poe, 1843). This means that he is aware of his mental illness, yet does not seek therapy or aid. Instead, he uses his newfound energy and determination to plot a ferocious killing. Why? The disease is manipulating him and taking control of his mind. What is more, his plan demonstrates a level of focus, attention to detail, and ruthlessness only an insane person could have ever conceived. He explains how “it took an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed” (Poe, 1843). This line may be an exaggeration, but the author uses it to portray how this man was so devoted to accomplishing his goal. The disease is what…show more content…
And this is why this case does not qualify for the death penalty. The main character, even though he has committed crimes, is a victim. However, under the 8th amendment, some could protest that these actions, such as cutting up the body and hiding it under the floor, are excessive enough to justify a death sentence. Nevertheless, the main character’s symptoms and methods give the grounds for a sentence of 25 years in a maximum security psychiatric ward. In other words, a deserving second
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