How Does Edgar Allen Poe Create A Feeling Of Madness Throughout "The Tell Tale Heart"?

1157 words - 5 pages

Edgar Allen Poe was an American Writer who wrote within the genre of horror and science fiction. He was famous for writing psychologically thrilling tales examining the depths of the human psyche. This is true of the Tell-Tale Heart, where Poe presents a character that appears to be mad because of his obsession to an old mans, ‘vulture eye’. Poe had a tragic life from a young age when his parents died. This is often reflected in his stories, showing characters with a mad state of mind, and in the Tell Tale Heart where the narrator plans and executes a murder.
The Tell-Tale Heart is a horror story about a man who murders his landlord because of his pale blue ‘vulture eye’. Every night at midnight the murderer goes into the old mans room and shines a thin ray of light on the old mans eye. On the eighth night the murderer went into the old mans room and wakes the man up. Yet again the murderer shines the light on the eye to see that it is open, the murderer then suffocates the landlord within his bed. He later confesses, due to his own guilt, that he had done the deed when police come round to his house to investigate.
The story is full of suspense and mystery from the first sentence. ‘TRUE!-NERVOUSE-VERY, very dreadfully nervous’. The sentence instantly makes the reader want to read on because it makes you wonder why the narrator would have the need to be nervous. After this it leads on to the narrator saying, ‘yet why would you say that I m mad?’. Yet again this makes the reader curious as to why we would assume he is crazy. The character is instantly conveyed to be a mad person, when the first few words appear to be shouted, ‘TRUE-NERVOUS-VERY’. This is dramatic and weird and these words are often repeated through the text, showing how the guilt of the murder has affected him so much.
Poe has chosen to write the story in first person narrative; he may have done this for several reasons. Firstly, this allows the reader to have access to the thought, plans and feelings of the narrator. However, this may mean that the story is one sided and biased, as the reader only gets the story from one persons view. Also, Poe may have chosen to write the story in first person so that the reader understands his madness clearer by the thoughts, and repeating words which the narrator does.
Poe used the character effectively to make the story different and weird. Firstly, I noticed how the narrator has a rational approach to the murder, ‘I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously-cautiously (for the hinges creaked)-I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye’. This makes the audience nervous, how he waits and watches the old man sleep; it makes the reader wonder what the narrator is going to do next. I also think this may be related to the obsession with the eye, and that the narrator feels he is always being watched by the ‘vulture eye’. So he goes in every night to see if it is watching him. I believe there is an...

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