“The Tell Tale Heart” is a story, on the most fundamental level, of conflict. There is a mental conflict inside the narrator himself (expecting the narrator is male). Through clear clues and explanations, Poe cautions the reader to the mental condition of the narrator, which is insanity. The insanity is portrayed as an obsession (with the old man 's eye), which thus leads to loss of control and in the long run outcomes in violence. At last, the narrator tells his story of killing his housemate.
Edgar Allan Poe’s frightening gothic style poetry and short novels about fear, love, death and horror are prominent to Gothic Literature and explore madness through a nerve-recking angle. The incredible, malformed author, poet, editor and novelist is recognized for his famous classical pieces such as “The Raven”, “Berenice” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, pieces of work that mystically yet magnificently awakens readers with a gloomy spirit. Awakening the subject of madness through written work was viewed as insane during Poe’s times. Yet Poe published some of the worlds most magnificently frightening pieces of literature throughout history. In the following essay I will examine and cautiously analyze Edgar Allan Poe’s most prominent works of madness, as well as his personal life to a certain extent.
Unsoundness Of Mind.. Insanity is defined in many ways. It’s all up to the person and their point of view. The actual definition of insanity is “a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. Insanity is distinguished from low intelligence or mental deficiency due to age or injury.” (via http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=979) The narrator from the short story “The Tell Tale Heart” is a lot of things. One of the ways I describe him is insane.The narrator from “The Tell Tale Heart” is insane because he killed the old man due to his pale blue eye, kept hearing the heartbeat when the
I heard many things in hell.” (1). Perhaps, if he could things from hell, he could have heard bad things about the old man. He proceeded to tell the reader, “He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (Poe 2) Since his reasoning is completely illogical, the reader can infer that he is mentally unstable. The narrator’s motive and style of execution for the murder is rather strange.
The narrator’s psychological instability is visible through the tone, the syntax and the constant alleviation between sanity and insanity. The beginning of the “Tell-Tale Heart” immediately sets the ambiguous mood of the story. The first line captivates almost instantaneously the reader’s attention due to the irregular pattern of the sentence. “TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Oates & Ed, 1992).
“Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought – a condition which lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state.” Poe uses the detailed outlook and description of everything his characters feel and experience, to communicate the feeling of fear and horror to his readers. Poe’s special twist on the gothic element of fear and horror, adds a dark, metacognitive feel to “The Pit and the Pendulum” which makes you, the reader, consider what humanity is, as a whole, truly afraid of. Poe understands what the human race truly fears, and uses that as an advantage, everything his character feels, is so
He flung the thing from him” (74 Steinbeck). Upon Pancho’s meeting with infantile Tularecito, his immediate response of rejection exemplifies possibly the greatest and most common fear among humans. The immediate repulsion towards the strange baby shows Pancho’s fear of the unknown. He has never experienced a baby that can talk and growl maliciously, so when this happens in the case of Tularecito he is shocked and instantly scrambles for an explanation to this unlikely occurrence. In this case his explanation is to label Tularecito as demonic and to create as much
Narrative of Fear Edgar Allen Poe and Lord Byron are masterful at using vivid, descriptive language language to develop the element of Gothic literature and instil a sense of fear in the reader. Poe, who wrote the Cask of Amontillado, used sentences to put fear in the reader. He wrote, “Fortunato 's low moaning cry from the depth of the recess,” and, “ The walls had been lined with human remains piled to the vault overhead.” These sentences indicate that someone is crying and is in a crypt like structure due to the walls being piled with bones.
Divergently, in “The Black Cat,” Poe does not want to forget about his pain. Instead, he chooses to blame other beings for his pain. He writes, “The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed at once to take its flight from my body” (Poe, para 7).
In Poe’s “The Pit and The Pendulum” he portrays many events of pain and fear making it clear to the reader that a pendulum is torturing the narrator, as the narrator mentioned, “Twice again it swung, and a sharp sense of pain shot through every nerve”. In “The Raven” the narrator is being tortured by his lost love and feels like he is being stalked by her, as the narrator mentions “And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor”. In addition, both narratives are written in a dark, cold and dreary environment making the narratives more fear full and intriguing to read. In “The Pit and The Pendulum” the narrator is trapped in a chamber with iron walls. The narrator describes it as “the hissing vigor of its descent, sufficient to sunder these very walls of iron, still the fraying of my robe would be all that, for several minutes, it would accomplish.” The narrator is in chamber trying to get out it and the walls keep changing dimensions