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The Tell Tale Heart


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The Tell Tale Heart


"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1843. It is related by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of the narrator's sanity while simultaneously describing a murder the narrator committed. The victim was an old man with a filmy pale blue "vulture-eye", as the narrator calls it. The narrator emphasizes the careful calculation of the murder, attempting the perfect crime, complete with dismembering the body in the bathtub and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately, the narrator's actions result in hearing a thumping sound, which the narrator interprets as the dead man's beating heart.


On the eighth night, the old man awakens after the narrator's hand slips and makes a noise, interrupting the narrator's nightly ritual. The narrator does not draw back and after some time, decides to open the lantern. A single thin ray of light shines out and lands precisely on the "evil eye," revealing that it is wide open. The narrator hears the old man's heart beating, which only gets louder and louder. This increases the narrator's anxiety to the point where they decide to strike. They jump into the room and the old man shrieks once before he is killed. The narrator then dismembers the body and conceals the pieces under the floorboards, ensuring the concealment of all signs of the crime. Even so, the old man's scream during the night causes a neighbor to report to the police, who the narrator invites in to look around. The narrator claims that the scream heard was their own in a nightmare and that the old man is absent in the country. Confident that they will not find any evidence of the murder, the narrator brings chairs for them and they sit in the old man's room. The chairs are placed on the very spot where the body is concealed; the police suspect nothing, and the narrator has a pleasant and easy manner.


The narrator begins to feel uncomfortable and notices a ringing in their ears. As the ringing grows louder, the narrator concludes that it is the heartbeat of the old man coming from under the floorboards. The sound increases steadily to the narrator, though the officers do not seem to hear it. Terrified by the violent beating of the heart and convinced that the officers are aware of not only the heartbeat but also the narrator's guilt, the narrator breaks down and confesses. The narrator tells them to tear up the floorboards to reveal the remains of the old man's body.


The narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" is generally assumed to be a male. However, some critics have suggested a woman may be narrating; no pronouns are used to clarify one way or the other.[6] The story starts in medias res, opening with a conversation already in progress between the narrator and another person who is not identified in any way. It has been speculated that the narrator is confessing to a prison warden, a judge, a reporter, a doctor, or (anachronistically) a psychiatrist.[7] In any case, the narrator tells the story in great detail.[8] What follows is a study of terror but, more specifically, the memory of terror as the narrator is retelling events from the past.[9] The first word of the story, "True!", is an admission of their guilt, as well as an assurance of reliability.[7] This introduction also serves to gain the reader's attention.[10] Every word contributes to the purpose of moving the story forward, exemplifying Poe's theories about the writing of short stories.[11]


Richard Wilbur suggested that the tale is an allegorical representation of Poe's poem "To Science", which depicts a struggle between imagination and science. In "The Tell-Tale Heart", the old man may thus represent the scientific and rational mind, while the narrator may stand for the imaginative.[25]


TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am;but why will you say that I am mad The disease had sharpened mysenses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was t




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