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Character Analysis – “The Tell-Tale Heart” “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a gothic fiction short story written by Edgar Allen Poe. It follows the tale of a crazed Killer, as he plots the demise of the old man he lives with. He is mentally and physically ill, and cannot seem to tell the difference between the ‘real’ and the ‘unreal’ aspect of the story. Driven by obsession, and the constant denial of being a ‘madman’, the character proves to be a perverse, calculating and attentive character whose morals are not in the right place. A point in the story that came across as odd was the the killer’s inability to process the difference between real and unreal. An example of this is when the police come to the killer’s home. At first, the…show more content…

In the nights leading up to the murder, the narrator puts emphasis on how carefully he proceeded during the night, and how carefully he opened the door. This proves the character to be very cautious and attentive. One example in particular that stands out is when the narrator accidently wakes the old man, and says, “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and I did not hear him lay down. He was still sitting-up; listening” (Poe105). This quote proves the killer to be very attentive. Also, in the opening the door, the killer relays “I moved it slowly-very, very slowly, so that I may not wake the old man. It took me an hour to place my whole head in the opening” (Poe104). This brings apparent how cautious the killer was, how much care he put into opening the door, and how many precautions he put in place as to not wake the old man. After spying on the old man during the night, he “spoke courageously to him, calling him by name, and inquiring how he had passed the night” (Poe105). This makes it seem like the killer is almost mocking the old man, because the killer knows how he passed the night. This is a selfish scheme for the killer, proving him to be very cold and calculating. In conclusion, the killer is ultimately a character who is hard to decipher. His morals and outlook on what is happening are completely perverse. He takes great care in going unnoticed, proving how attentive and cautious he is.

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The old man's eye is blue with a "film" or "veil" covering it. This could be a medical condition, like a corneal ulcer, but symbolically it means that the characters have issues with their "inner v...

Genre

Horror or Gothic Fiction is one of the easy genres to spot, and also one of the most fun to explore, as long as you don't mind looking at the hard stuff. Snapped minds, crypt-like spaces, actual cr...

Writing Style

Stylistically, Poe can be quite maddening, even as we marvel at the precision and at the tightly packed, exquisitely worded, yet curiously rough sentences – each open to hours of debate. With...

What's Up With the Title?

At the most obvious level, the title refers to the beating of the old man's heart. The heart "tells tales" to the narrator. Tales, as you well know, are stories, and can be based on either real or...

What's Up With the Ending?

As the Invisible Man, in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man says, "The end [is] in the beginning." As in that novel, chronologically speaking, the end of "The Tell-Tale Heart" actually takes place befor...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The old man's has a creepy eye.Our hero, the narrator, has been harassed by the old man's eye for too long (though we don't know how long). So, the narrator decides to get rid of the man, to get...

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