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The Tell-Tale Heart - Critical Analysis

Uploaded by emily_rose66 on Jan 30, 2001

Imagine the sight of an old man's eye, vulturous, pale blue, with a film covering it. Could this drive one's self so insane that one would murder a man because of it? This is the event that occurs in Edgar Allen Poe's vivid tale "The Tell-Tale Heart", from the book Designs For Reading: Short Stories.

Every night at precisely midnight, the narrator, who remains nameless and sexless, but for the sake of this essay I will refer to as he, ventured into the old man's room without making a sound, to observe the very eye at which the sight of made his blood run cold. The old man did not suspect a thing. During the day the narrator continued to go about his daily routine, and even went so far as to ask the old man every morning if he slept well the night before. Upon the eighth midnight of this nightly ritual, the narrator proceeded to the old man's room as usual; however, this night was different. As he slipped cat-like into the room, the old man sat up suddenly in his bed, crying out "Who's there?" The narrator stood there silently for over an hour, as did the old man who did not lie back down. Finally he opened the lantern ever so slightly, letting in only a single dim ray, only to see that the eye was wide open. "It was wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness— all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones."(p. 153). Then suddenly he heard "a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton."(p 154). This prompted the narrator to leap into the room, drag the old man off the bed, and pulled the heavy bed over him. After carefully checking to make sure that the man was dead, he proceeded to chop up the body, and discretely bury the pieces under the planks of the floor. Not long after, the police came because of a shriek reported by a neighbor. The narrator invited the officers in and sat them right on the spot where he'd disposed of the corpse. Everything was fine, he was calm and at ease, as the officers chatted away. He soon wished them to be gone, for as the "low, dull,...

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Uploaded by:   emily_rose66

Date:   01/30/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   6 pages (1,238 words)

Views:   2752

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