Back to: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
Table of Contents
The mood of the story is ominous and dark. It is full of suspense as there is a sense of impending death and tragedy. It uses anxiety and suspicion in the narrator’s head to paint the whole text as one of a massive scheme of mischief ending in a murder.
Even after the murder, the continuous buzzing in the narrator’s ear and the sounds of a beating heart successfully maintains a sense of eerie discomfort.
The tone of the story is sad and fearful. It is steeped in suspicion and doubt regarding people’s intentions as well as confusion about one’s own sanity. The narrator seems to be a psychopath who enjoys stalking and then killing an old man.
He seems to be a prisoner to his insanity as he justifies the murder but eventually breaks into a confession of the same. His speech is melancholic as well as tragic.
The tone is of shock and emotional outburst in the last part of the story as the narrator confesses to his crime in a frenzied end.
The text is full of powerful imagery like the old man’s pale eye that looks diseased and is covered with a veil of evil darkness. This represents a sinister secret that the old man might be carrying. It is also described as evil or like a vulture’s eye equating to be predatory in nature.
There is the imagery of a dark and quiet bedroom representing a place where one is most susceptible to harm as one never expects any harm while relaxing in it. There is imagery concerning lantern as a speck of light that resides seven in the bleakest of moments.
The conflict is represented by the inability of the protagonist to execute his elaborate plot of murder. The target, an old man, does not open his eye even when exposed to the light from the lantern. As the narrator is peeved by the eye and not the old man, he is forced to bide his time.
The climax witnesses a brutal crime with the narrator puts the old man to death. He proceeds to dismember the old man’s body in the bathroom and then hide the parts under the floorboards. In his arrogance, he even invites the policemen to sit in the same room where the buried parts lie.
The story is full of ironic moments. In the beginning, the narrator asks the reader to not consider him as mad however the following events point to his insanity.
In the climax, the narrator buries the old man’s body so that his heart could not be heard but the narrator himself can still hear the heartbeat and eventually comes clean about his crime.
Also, the narrator calls the old man’s eye as evil even though he is the one to commit the murderous evil.
The story concludes with the narrator’s confession of guilt. He acknowledges his crime and directs the policemen to the old man’s cut-up body parts. In his insanity, the narrator feels that the policemen are mocking him but it is his guilt that forces him to come clean.