The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none.
“The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843)
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An unnamed narrator is the nightly intruder that watches the old man sleep. He must put an end to the evil eye that haunts his days and visits his dreams. He must be so quiet as he sneaks into the black as pitch chamber The deed is finally done, but One of my POE favorites! Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Edgar Allan Poe
The victim was an old man with a filmy "vulture-eye", as the narrator calls it. The narrator emphasizes the careful calculation of the murder, attempting the perfect crime, complete with dismembering and hiding the body under the floorboards. Ultimately, the narrator's feelings result in hearing a thumping sound, which the narrator interprets as the dead man's beating heart. The specific motivation for murder aside from the narrator's dislike of the old man's eye , the relationship between narrator and old man, the gender of the narrator, and other details are left unclear. The narrator denies having any feelings of hatred or resentment for the man who had, as stated, "never wronged" the narrator. The narrator also denies having killed for greed. Critics argue that the old man could be a father figure, the narrator's landlord, or that the narrator works for the old man as a servant, and that perhaps his "vulture-eye" represents a veiled secret or power. The ambiguity and lack of details about the two main characters stand in contrast to the specific plot details leading up to the murder.
An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man. Again, he insists that he is not crazy because his cool and measured actions, though criminal, are not those of a madman. In the morning, he would behave as if everything were normal. After a week of this activity, the narrator decides, somewhat randomly, that the time is right actually to kill the old man. When the narrator arrives late on the eighth night, though, the old man wakes up and cries out. The narrator remains still, stalking the old man as he sits awake and frightened. The narrator understands how frightened the old man is, having also experienced the lonely terrors of the night. Worried that a neighbor might hear the loud thumping, he attacks and kills the old man. He then dismembers the body and hides the pieces below the floorboards in the bedroom.