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Analyze any two themes in Edgar Allan Poes short story, The Tell Tale Heart - Essay Example

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Edgar Allan Poe, a renowned American writer and poet is well known for his short stories, which are often considered to be the predecessors of modern mystery detective stories. The author’s works are often classified in the framework of American Romantic Movement (Quinn), and…
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Analyze any two themes in Edgar Allan Poes short story, The Tell Tale Heart
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"Analyze any two themes in Edgar Allan Poes short story, The Tell Tale Heart"

Download file to see previous pages It is quite difficult to ascertain a particular genre onto the story because as Reilly puts it, this is an ‘ultimate mystery story’; however, the reader will immediately notice the discrepancies between the classical detective genre and Poe’s work. In a classic detective story, the plot is centered around guessing who the murderer is, however, Poe’s stories are not whodunits, rather, they are concentrated on the psyche of the murderer. ‘If there is a mystery in these tales, it is the mystery of motive: not who did it, but why. Poe’s fascination with the idea of a crime without a clear motive has proved to be one of his richest bequests to later writers.’ (Benfrey, 29)
One of the themes in Poe’s story is of a murder sans motive. It is closely interconnected and interwoven with the theme of madness and obsession that leads to this murder, inexplicable to a ‘sane’ person. The topics of insanity and guilt are dominant in many of Poe’s works like in ‘Berenice’, ‘The Black Cat’, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, ‘Metzengerstein’, ‘William Wilson’, and are very often developed by the writer from an unexpected angle.
To begin with, it is necessary to take a quick look at the plot of the story in order to understand the themes of the story. ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ is a story told along the lines of a monologue narrated by an unnamed character – an aspect dominant in many of Poe’s works. The narrator of the story is often referred to as ‘unreliable’ – his credibility is questioned due to his clear mental disorder. This may be understood as a ploy to puzzle the mind of the reader (Benfey 30) and to create that special mixture of suspense, absurdity and fatality, peculiar for Allan Poe’s short stories. The main character (traditionally considered to be a man, though there are no evidences that this could not be a woman) confesses that he murdered an old man to an ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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