The Tell Tale Heart Short Analysis
What single effect on predominant emotion do you think, Poe aims to create in The TELL HEART? What means does Poe use to create this symbolism or atmosphere? Show the different feelings and emotions or effects that occur at the climax.
“The Tell-Tale Heart,” is one of Edger Allan Poe’s well known short stories and was first published in January, 1843. The short story is a psychological portrait. It is narrated by a mad man who commits homicide. It is a horror story, and a psychological thriller, which is presented in a native style. Edger Allan Poe’s short story demonstrates the fact that a short story can produce a memorable effect on the reader. He believed that a good story should create an effect on the reader, by being truthful as well as thought-provoking. This is exactly what ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ does. It evokes the emotions of the reader. It demonstrates the writer’s ability to expose the dark side of a man. Throughout the story, the writer uses symbolism as well as diametrically opposing ideas, to establish the relationship between emotion and reality.
The story begins with the famous line, “True! — Nervous— very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses-not destroyed-not dulled them” (Poe, 1850, para. 1). From the very beginning, the readers are made to wonder what the narrator wishes to convey. He is successful in making the reader emotional. The narrator tries to persuade the reader that his disease is not bad, and that it is under control. The narrator remains nameless throughout the story and feels convinced that he has done the right thing by killing a person. From this we can tell that the narrator is an unrealistic. The narrator thinks that he has removed the “evil eye” by killing the old man. The lines that follow bear the emotional stamp. “I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture-very gradually- I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (Poe, 1850, para. 2).
The narrator engages himself in monologues, off and on in the story. The disease that he talks about could be that of split personality, when dominates when an individual fails to translate his thoughts, actions, and emotions to reality. This also explains why the narrator converses with himself. From his dialogues, the reader can identify that a person’s perception can greatly affect his beliefs, and possibility create his own reality. In the story, the narrator believes himself to be sane, despite billing a person, for no reasons. The narrator is not thrilled by the crime that he commits, but he is just happy that he has got rid of the “evil eye”. This clearly shows that the narrator is not a sane person. Yet, the narrator is quite logical and reasonable ironically, way as he cannot distinguish between right and wrong. His main purpose is to get rid of the evil eye which he finds so overwhelming, the following lines bear expression to his sincere thoughts. “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. 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, 1850, para. 2). This is an interesting aspect, as human beings experience the emotion of love and hate simultaneously. The writer cleverly allows these two emotions separate from each other, by separating the old man and his eyes.
Edgar Allen Poe uses symbolism to demonstrate further, the psychological concepts and emotional aspects in the story. The most obvious symbol is the eye which causes the old man his life. It also evokes fear, paranoia, and obsession in the narrator. The old man has “a pale blue eye with a film over it,” (Poe) which makes the narrator’s heart boils with hatred for the eye. The eye represents evil for the narrator, “for it was not the old man who vexed me but his Evil Eye” (Poe, 1850, para. 3). The eye does not represent the old man, but the fraudulent reality, a reality which is based on the emotion of the narrator. The watch can also be seen as a symbol which represents time, and tell tales of time. The narrator mentions the word “watch” four times in the story. The watch symbolizes the inevitable death that all humans face “A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine” (Poe, 1850, para. 4). The narrator uses the lantern as a weapon against the old man’s eye. It also symbolizes the light, hiding in the darkest place. The narrator uses a lantern on the old man “It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness — all a dull blue with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones, but I could see nothing else of the old mans face or person, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct precisely upon the damned spot” (Poe, 1850). The narrator hides the light and allows only one ray of light from the lantern to escape. This ray of light symbolizes truth. Through the use of symbols, Poe creates conflicting situations. The use of eye as symbol for evil and lantern for truth, as a case in point. When the narrator destroys the eye, he is filled with grief and guilt. This emotion is symbolized by the beating heart.
Through the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe illustrates the coexistence of love and hate, and reality and perception. Poe uses symbolism as well as irony to entice the reader towards the relation between emotion and reality. The use of symbolism and contradiction exemplifies these reoccurring ideas throughout the story. Edgar Allen Poe successfully uses a delusional man to narrate the story through a first-person narrative, to convey the relationship between the emotions of love, hate, perception, and reality.
Reference List Poe, E. A. (1850). The Tell-Tale Heart. PoeStories.com. Retrieved from http://poestories.com/read/telltaleheart