The Tell – Tale Heart

The story ‘The Tell – Tale Heart’ written by the story writer Edgar Allan Poe deals with the issue like crime and confession. In this story the writer makes his narrator reveal the secret which is shocking for the readers. This story is psychological since it dramatizes the mental condition of the narrator through his crime up to his confession.

The narrator lives in the house of the old man. The narrator himself admits that he doesn’t have any problem with his house owner. The narrator further tells that the old man has done no harm to the narrator. But if there is one thing that makes narrator irritated and bothered, it is the old man’s eyes. The narrator takes or supposes the eyes of the old man to be the eyes of vulture. Whenever the narrator happens to look at the eyes of the old man, he becomes very angry. The anger of the narrator is so intense that he cannot tolerate the vulture like eyes of the old man. The narrator decides to get rid of the irritating eyes of the old man forever. The narrator attempts so many times to kill the old man but doesn’t become successful in doing that. He has tried to kill the old man for seven times. But on the eighth night, he gets an opportunity to kill the old man and dismembers the body of old man. The scattered pieces of the dead body of the old man have been buried under the floor inside the room. He doesn’t leave any evidence that will prove him to be a murderer. He behaves as if he has done nothing. He just sits on a chair just over the place where he has buried the dead body of the old man. It has been already 4 o’clock in the morning. All of sudden, the narrator happens to listen to the knocking sound at the door. When he opens the door, the three policemen enter the room to investigate what has happened that night. Somebody had heard a sort of shouting and had complained against it.

The way the narrator talks to the policemen shows that the narrator is highly confident. Moreover the narrator leads them to each and every corner of the house and shows his high level of confidence. That makes the policemen assured of the fact that the narrator is not a murderer. After having confirmation, the policemen are about to leave the house. As the narrator has acute sense of hearing, he happens to listen to a sound coming out of the floor which he supposes to be as like the heart beat of the old man. He forgot that he had forgotten to take the watch of the old man out. On the one hand the narrator feels that the sound is getting louder and louder and on the other hand, the policemen having laughing and talking in their personal matter. But the narrator supposes that they know the reality. They are only pretending to be unknown to the fact and making fool out of the narrator. The narrator finds himself in the state of confusion, one i.e. increasing sound and another, the mocking laughter of the policemen at him. He can no longer face that embarrassing situation and decides that it would be better for him to confess his crime instead of being caught in that terrible situation. Eventually, the narrator confesses his crime and shows the place where he has buried the dead body of the old man.

Thus in this story the writer makes his narrator unfold in minute details of many folds of a mystery and lead the readers to the shock at the end.


Q. Would you call the narrator of the story mad? Why? Why not?

ยป ‘The Tell – Tale Heart’ is a psychological story which has described the criminal psychology and the confessions in an interesting way. This story focuses on the fact that crime doesn’t have its tongue but speaks out itself sooner or later.

The narrator lived in a house with an old man who was his house owner. The narrator doesn’t have any complaints regarding the behaviors of old man but he didn’t like the eyes of the old man. The narrator says that watching the old man’s eyes, he used to get very angry without any specific reason. Thus, the narrator develops intense hatred against the old man just because of the old man’s eyes which were like those of vulture’s eyes.

The narrator, in order to get rid of the old man’s eyes killed him. He had been trying for several times but succeeded after lots of planning. After killing the old man, he cut him into pieces and hid the body pieces under the floor of old man’s room and sat on the chair on the very place fearlessly. Though the reason for killing old man was not of any good value, the planning, patience and trials for his mission shows that the narrator wasn’t mad. If the narrator was mad, he wouldn’t have acted wisely. A man person is not sensible enough to carry out his plans and works as the narrator did. The negative aspects of mind had been dominant in case of narrator which led him to this crime. A mad person can never be self-confident and stay fearlessly as the narrator did even when the police came searching. Just because of his acute sense of hearing and lack of capabilities of proper judgement on time, he confessed his crime. Though a mind can be very strong, it can never hide truth from itself, which is an example shown by the narrator.

Thus, analyzing the acts of the narrator, his planning, preparations and determination towards his mission, we can conclude that the narrator wasn’t mad but a victim of dominant negative aspects of psychology.

Leave a Reply