The Theme Of Schizophrenia In Edgar Allen Poe's A Tell-Tale Heart

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In Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator exhibits many traits of schizophrenia. Throughout the story, a man is terrorized by the eye of an old man and when he can no longer can take looking at the eye, he decides to kill him. He hides his body under the floorboards of their house and when officers come to search the house, they do not find anything, making the narrator overconfident in his plan. Guilt builds up and the man eventually cannot take the noise that he hears and confesses to killing the old man in front of the officers. Many actions of the man prove to be symptoms of schizophrenia. During the story, the narrator has hallucinations and delusions of grandeur and thus is schizophrenic. To begin, hallucinations are a major…show more content…
Delusions of grandeur include believing that “one is a famous or important figure” (“Schizophrenia” 1). A person may think that their skills are superior to other people and will gloat about their skills often. In addition, these delusions also include “the belief that one has unusual powers that no one else has” (“Schizophrenia” 1). Similarly, the man boasted about how well he hid the body to himself many times and became over confident because of this. For example, the narrator said “I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye -- not even his -- could have detected anything wrong”, but later he started feeling too confident and invited the officers to sit down and stay just as they were about to leave (Poe 3). He became too excited and placed his chair right above the body under the floorboards and was lowkey bragging about how well he hid the body. If he had just let the officers leave, he would have gotten away with murdering the old man but since he believed his skills were untouchable, he confessed. Thus, when he was too confident in his work he showed a side of his schizophrenia that caused him to get
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