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The Tell-tale Heart Essay Examples

Essay 1

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story about an unnamed narrator who kills someone. The narrator slays an old man with a blue vulture-like eye, which made him uncomfortable. He orchestrates the murder, carries it out, and hides the old man’s body in the back of his car. Because it is a horror narrative that describes how a young narrator murders an elderly individual and dismembers his body to conceal his misdeeds, it belongs to the gothic category (Snodgrass 2005).

The murderer states that he is sane and goes into great detail to explain how he murdered his victim. When the cops arrived at the Old Man’s home, however, he squeals like a pig since he hears the old man’s heart beating behind the floorboards, which may suggest that the narrator is insane. Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer who was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston Massachusetts.

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Poe’s parents, David and Elizabeth, died before he reached the age of two. He lived with John and Frances Allan for a time after their death. His youth was unhappy; he lost his beloved when he was young, and this informed his writings, which are concerned with grisly deaths (Meyer, 2000). Poe’s unhappiness and suffering have resonated in popular culture for centuries after his passing.

Poe’s tale is historically significant because it depicts how society was at that period. The public was becoming interested in moral insanity (Bynum, 1989). For example, it’s difficult to determine why the narrator killed the old man at the conclusion of the story; was it madness or a diabolical plan to appear as though he were frightened of the pale blue eye? The narrator claims that he liked and cared for the old man yet he still murdered him.

The narrator’s sense of right and wrong seems to have been suspended, as the cold-blooded killing of an old man does not trouble his or her conscience, but it troubles the narrator’s mind that the police know who committed the murder and are only playing with his thoughts. Even though Poe was unsuccessful in earning significant economic benefits from it and other works.

The plot is based on the mass culture, in which people attempt to explain murders in which the killers confess (Bloom, 2002). The tale, on the other hand, is financially successful because it has a large following today and is still widely read. Furthermore, popular culture adaptations of the tale include numerous media such as television shows, movies that are very popular and watched by many individuals (e.g., The Simpsons).

Finally, the narrative reminds us of moral insanity as a defense for murder in cultures where it is standard. In today’s societies, hearing stories about people murdering people close to them for very strange reasons such as the prisoner who murdered his cellmate because he believed voices instructed him to commit the crime (Burrell, 2001).

Today, the Tell-Tale Heart is as relevant as ever, demonstrating how disturbed people may be and encourages readers to delve deeper into the lives and psychology of those who commit criminal acts.


Essay 2

The Tell-Tale Heart is a novella by Edgar Allan Poe in which a man kills someone based on their eye color, and he sees him at night when he’s going to kill him and starts crying, but the narrator stops and waits for the ideal moment to murder him. He slaughtered him after killing him, but when the cops showed up at his home, he took responsibility for it. He claimed that he was not insane at the start of the story.

A grandpa and his young grandson Once there was a grandfather who lived with his son and daughter-in-law. The man was so ancient that his hearing and vision had deteriorated. When he attempted to eat, his hands shook uncontrollably. With trembling fingers, the old man would sit in the corner crying as he tried to eat his food.

He decided to give the child his own bowl because he thought it would be safer for him. He smashed the dish against a wall, causing it to break. The wife scolded him and he was given a made-of-wood plate to eat out of instead of his broken bowl. One evening, while they were sitting together, their four-year-old grandson began collecting wood shards. His parents inquired what he was doing. The boy replied that he was making a trough so that when his parents got old, they could eat out of it. The man and woman were sobbing uncontrollably.

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Similarities between the Tell-Tale Heart and The Grandfather and His Little Grandson include that they are both mistreated, with mental issues. In the tale of the Tell-Tale Heart, the protagonist is a paranoid who deteriorates mentally, while in The Grandfather and his young grandson, he is similarly obsessed with specific and plain objects: the old man’s eye and heartbeats.

In the story The Grandfather and His Little Grandson, the old man has a mental condition. When he attempted to eat, his hands shook. This is a mental problem. In addition, in The Tell-Tale Heart, the protagonist is treated extremely roughly whereas, in The grandfather and his little grandson, he is treated well. Another distinction is that in The Tell-Tale Heart, the protagonist kills someone whereas, in The grandfather and his little grandson, he does not kill anybody.

The protagonist of The Tell-Tale Heart has a phobia about his or her eyes, but the grandfather and his little grandson do not. Another is that the setting for the tale’s origin is different. In conclusion, we might conclude that like The Tell-Tale Heart and The grandfather and his little grandson have differences as well as parallels; one is a mental disability, whereas one is that in The Tell-Tale Heart he murders someone but in The grandfather and his little grandson he does not murder anyone.


Essay 3

Insanity, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “in a state of mind that prevents normal vision, behavior, or social interactions.” The narrator of “Tell-Tale Heart” murdered an elderly man he loved because of the old man’s eye. When the cops arrived, the narrator heard the old guy’s heartbeat, which compelled him to confess his crime. The narrator is not guilty of insanity and should be institutionalized because he had no genuine purpose and exhibited signs of madness as well as hearing things that were never there in reality.

The narrator had no valid reason to kill the old man. “I believe it was high eye! Yes, it was this! He had a vulture’s eye – a pale blue one with a film over it. My blood ran cold when I saw his gaze fall on me, and so by degrees—very gradually—I decided to take the life of the old man and rid myself of the sight forever” (Poe). The narrator wanted to murder the old man simply because he possessed an evil eye. nThe elderly man had done nothing to anger or annoy the narrator, but his malevolent gaze irritated him greatly and compelled him to end the guy’s life.

The old man, I am sure, had cataracts, arcus senilis corneae, pterygium, or some other form of eye disease. Although the old guy was powerless to stop what was happening to his eye, the narrator found such a little thing so annoying that he felt the only way to fix it was to kill him. Furthermore, the narrator exhibited signs of madness, such as sleep watching. “So you see he would have had to be a very profound old man, indeed,” says Poe (Poe).

The old man was observed for a week by the narrator while he slept. He sought out the night when the “vulture eye” was open in order to attack it. But then, on the eighth night, the old man woke up startled, and the deed had to be done. However, before that, on at least one of them, the narrator would simply wait by the entrance and peek in very slowly for at least an hour each night.

The narrator could hear the old guy’s heartbeat after he murdered him. The sound in his head began as a ringing, low and vague. However, as time passed, the ringing became louder and more distinct. The living heartbeat of the dead man tormented the narrator. It pushed him to confess his crime. “‘Villains! Dissemble no longer!’ I screamed at them ‘I acknowledge responsibility for the act! – Tear up the planks! Here, here! – it is the throbbing of his horrible heart!” (Poe).

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While the old man was dying, the narrator continued to hear his heart thump. He could not be hearing the heartbeat since the individual was dead. This implies that the narrator’s mind created the noises and he couldn’t get rid of them, suggesting mental illness. People might also argue that because the narrator attempted to conceal evidence, he is guilty of his actions.

Although the narrator made an effort to conceal his tracks, he is still insane/psychotic and cannot be judged as if he were not. Furthermore, some people with mental illness, depending on the type of insanity he has, are still able to think for themselves. Take schizophrenia for example; they can still use their brains, but their thoughts produce a reality in which things happen that aren’t happening in the real world. The narrator is not guilty by reason of insanity and should be incarcerated in a mental institution.

The narrator had no excuse for killing the old man; he observed him while he slept, and he heard a dead heart’s sound. This establishes the conclusion that the narrator is mad. Should he be incarcerated, he will not receive the assistance required. So, what should happen: let an insane person live in prison without getting treatment or put him in a facility where he can obtain it?


Essay 4

The Tell-Tale Heart, written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1843, is about a man who murders his buddy, an elderly man, for no apparent reason other than he is irritated by the appearance of his roommate’s eye. The tale also explores the theme of insanity. In The Tell-Tale Heart, images and ideas connected to the Eye, the Lantern, and the Heart symbolize various components of the narrator’s mental state.

The Tell-Tale Heart employs the metaphor of the eye, which is why the narrator uses it to explain why he murders his roommate. The eye is frequently associated with the window into a person’s soul because of its symbolism. When the old man’s eye is examined, we see that it resembles our own soul, a reflection of our evil personality. We learn how “the eye of a vulture” was used in describing the old man’s (Poe, para. 2) eye at the beginning.

The eye also has a thin layer of blue film on top. The vulture is a raptor that consumes dead bodies, while the blue film gives the eye a lifeless appearance. When the narrator tries to peer into the old man’s room later, he allows a sliver of light from the lantern to fall on his eye. Here, it appears as if the eye is aware of the narrator’s intentions and wants them to remain secret.

The narrator looks into the glass and sees a “hateful veil” (para. 6). The narrator quickly becomes obsessed with it, until he is unable to see anything else of the old man’s face or form (para. 6). As the eye’s condition deteriorates, so does the narrator’s mental health. The eye is essentially a metaphor for the narrator’s inner darkness; he refers to it as an “Evil Eye” (para. 3). According to the narrator, the eye is what motivates him to commit murder; in reality, though, he is seeing a reflection of his own evil nature.

The light from the lantern allows the narrator to see his madness; this is emphasized by the fact that the lantern’s only illumination is on the old man’s eye, which according to him is driving him insane. Lanterns are known for producing light, and when considered metaphorically, their brightness represents knowledge.

Knowledge is kept hidden if it is not exposed to light. As the narrator approaches his crime, additional illumination comes from the lantern. When the lantern is shut, the narrator maintains control over his mental state; nevertheless, only when the lantern is completely opened before he murdered the old man does he have complete control of his sanity again.

The lantern is controlled, therefore it implies the narrator’s battle to retain his sanity. The lantern is opened wide when he loses control, so that his crime may be seen in its entirety. This suggests how the lantern also aids in the exposure of the narrator as it is “thrown open” (para. 7) during the act of murder. When the narrator was merely thinking about committing a crime, “the lamp was kept shut, shut; no light shone forth” (para. 3).

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When the lantern’s progress in the story is analyzed, it becomes clear that it is a reflection of the narrator’s attempt to maintain his sanity. The narrative implies that the narrator clings to the lantern, describing it in great detail; thus, it comforts him as a symbol for his own battle with insanity. This is what keeps him sane, but only when the lantern remains dark.

The lantern, as the narrator notes in a later passage, symbolizes his ability to keep his sanity under control. When it is dark, he can do so; but when more light is emitted from the lantern, the narrator becomes more evil and dangerous.

The heart does not appear until near the end of the tale, as a symbol of the narrator’s guilt and conscience, reflecting its prominence in the narrative. The narrator’s first reference to a heart is when he opens the door for the cops “with a light heart” (para. 8). When he hears the murdered old man’s heart beating through the floorboards where he is buried, it is next mentioned.

Although the narrator hears the thud become louder, the cops don’t hear it since it is only in his head. The beating becomes so severe that the narrator feels compelled to “scream or die” (para. 9). Because of the heart, he is driven to confess his guilt, because he realizes how terrible his behavior was.

The final line of the story has the narrator describing the body, stating simply that it is “the thud of his terrible heart” (para. 10). This demonstrates how deluded he had become as a result of his guilt. The heart is frequently used to represent emotion or compassion; in The Tell-Tale Heart, however, it has a connotation with guilt. Guilt motivates the narrator to confess. Although he had been able to conceal his guilt before, now it consumes him.

The eye, the lantern, and the heart all represent various elements of the narrator’s psychological state. The narrator sees himself through the eye; his struggle to manage his mental state is symbolized by the lantern, and his guilt is represented by the heart.


Essay 5

One of the “frightening” short tales by Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart was first published in 1843. This is the story told by a person whose name is unknown to the reader. This man murdered his old neighbor, who lived under the same roof as him. The narrator claims his sanity, claiming that he is sane and explaining how he killed the old man as a result of being an evil “vulture eye” with a thorn that drove him insane. In his confession, the murderer describes in detail how he traveled before committing the crime and then what occurred afterward.

He accurately recorded everything in his diary, and one night he strangled the man in his room. The corpse was then carefully dismembered and hidden beneath the floorboards, leaving no trace. When the cops arrived at the residence with a search warrant in the morning, however, the murderer revealed himself by confessing to hearing a loud thump from under the floorboards and believing that the police had heard it as well, but deliberately tormenting him by pretending not to know what was going on.

The old man’s death may have been caused by someone who was close to him, such as his father. It’s possible that the murderer worked in the house as a servant. The reason for the killer’s extreme annoyance with the victim’s bad eye is also unclear; perhaps it depicts a hidden secret that is oppressing the narrator, or the dark power of the man over him. The backstory between these two characters is unresolved, in stark contrast to how meticulously and step-by-step their killing and subsequent recognition are described.

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