Themes In The Tell Tale Heart

1506 words, 7 pages

Intro Sample...

Edgar Allan Poe is considered one of the greatest gothic horror writers of all time, where his stories often “[blur the lines between sanity and insanity]” (Witherington 472). All of his stories are filled with tales of horror and suspense, usually containing murder and supernatural events. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” a man, who “insists that he is not mad,” murders the old man who lives in the house with the unnamed protagonist because the old man “ha[s] the eye of a vulture” (Masterplots 1; Poe 188). Though the old man is simply blind in one eye, this drives the protagonist to murder the old man. However, the murder of the old man is not the climax of “The Tell-Tale Heart;” it is when the police arrive at the scene of the murder... View More »

Body Sample...

Time is a constant being in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and is often mentioned in relation to death and intimately intertwined with the heart. The narrator believes he is in control of the old man’s life and that he alone has the power to take his life and any moment and rid himself of the eye. The narrator is particular about when he will take the old man’s life, which is why he spends an hour every midnight, to watch the old man, waiting for the perfect moment to strike (Sova 174). The narrator emphasizes how time seems to come to a halt when watching the old man in his sleep, and with each beat of the old man’s heart, which “[the narrator] associates with the ticking of a clock,” is one beat closer to death (Reference Guide… 925). When the narrator believes it is time to kill the old man, he states, “the old man’s hour [has] come,” leaving the narrator to believe he has the upper hand and that he is the master of time (Poe 191). However, time is not his ally. Time begins to turn against him as his guilt begins to worm its way into his subconscious, which the narrator hears through the beating of the old man’s heart even though he is dead under the floorboards. Hearing the heart of the old man signifies the narrator’s guilt and also indicates the narrator is running out of time, as it did with the old man (Masterplots 3). As the heart begins to beat faster, the narrator begins to panic, believing that the neighbors and police officers must be able to hear it and are pretending not to (Poe 193). Upon revealing the old man’s body, one realizes that time was never after the ...

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