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Edgar Allan Poe: A Tell-Tale Heart - Research Paper Example

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your and number date due A Formalist Criticism of “A Tell-Tale Heart” The Tell-Tale Heart travels with a narrator into the shadows of sanity. Clearly, Poe wanted to explain the difficulties faced by a demented person trying to hold on to some reality, feverishly in denial over their own madness…
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Edgar Allan Poe: A Tell-Tale Heart
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Download file to see previous pages He loves the old man, but the eye “vexes” him. (Poe 193) The caretaker, also the narrator, decides to kill the old man in order to end the life of the eye. Completing the task, the caretaker keeps hearing the beating of the heart, driving him to confession. (Poe 193-7) Analysis of Various Criticisms The Tell-Tale Heart introduces the reader to a narrator wavering between sanity and insanity. “Perhaps the most striking of Poe’s peculiarities is an almost incredible insight into the debateable (sic) region between sanity and madness”. (Bloom 150) The suggestion that explaining these perversities in a realistic fashion have a basis in the author’s psychological disturbances (Bloom 142) simplifies the artistry too much. Poe writes this monologue in contrasts. The logic and sanity of the storytelling is unmistakable; the mental acuity of the narrator is questionable. The narrator rambles from one side of the line separating sanity from madness to the other. For example, the story has bookend references to the old man’s heart. The narrator admits to loving the old man, and how the old man returned this emotion with kindness and respect. At the end of the narration, the speaker laments the beating of the old man’s hideous heart. ...
(Poe 193) So, why consider killing this old man? The narrator blames the old man’s eye. The eye taunted him, un-eased him. “I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture---a pale blue eye, with a film over it.” (Poe 193) The eye, especially the evil eye, has been part of literature for centuries, personifying the mental state of its owner. The eye represents wisdom, soul and intelligence. The evil eye represents the desire to control others, for evil purposes. The narrator perceived the eye as evil, like a vulture, waiting for the narrator to suffer in death. The eye, symbolic of the mental state, “had a film over it.” (Poe 193) The narrator perceives the old man’s mental state to be shadowy and malevolent. At this point, the narrator asserts his sanity by suggesting a madman would not be as cautious as he; that “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him”. (Poe 193) The irony of the kinder, more attentive killer escapes the narrator. “The profound irony, of course, is that these protagonists employ the traditional, the classic, language of reason (and primarily the Aristotelian appeal to logos) to justify and defend the actions of unreason.” (Zimmerman 33-34) The author’s choice of the first person point of view requires the reader to share the anonymous narrator’s oscillation between sane and insane. The narrator is unreliable, illogical and obsessed with demonstrating his sanity. The narrator willingly, remorselessly admits to murder, but not insanity. In the shared mind of the narrator, the murder was justifiable to remove the curse of the eye. (Sova 173-4) Poe consciously made the choice to put the reader in that crazy mind. The reader ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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