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“The Tell-Tale Heart” Short Story by Edgar A. Poe Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2021

This response is to the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. An unnamed madman explains why he decided to kill a man who helped him considerably, admitting that he had no rational reason to do so. He declares that the man’s eye began troubling him because it appeared to him to be like a vulture’s. He visited the beneficiary’s room for eight nights, and on the last one, he found the person not sleeping and killed him. He disposed of the body meticulously, but a neighbor heard the cry and called the police, and eventually, the madman confessed of his own accord.

The subtle shifting of goals is a remarkable feature of the story, as the killer’s initial concern is not the same one as what worries him afterward. He begins by complaining about the old man’s eye, but it is the imaginary beating of his heart that breaks down his resolve and makes him confess. This shift, along with the random admissions of ideas such as hearing sounds from heaven and hell, helps cement the idea that the killer is mad. The madman’s circumstances remain unknown, possibly to indicate that they were irrelevant, and so the story is an isolated glimpse into an insane mind.

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IvyPanda. (2021, June 8). "The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tell-tale-heart-short-story-by-edgar-a-poe/

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""The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe." IvyPanda, 8 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-tell-tale-heart-short-story-by-edgar-a-poe/.

1. IvyPanda. ""The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tell-tale-heart-short-story-by-edgar-a-poe/.


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IvyPanda. ""The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tell-tale-heart-short-story-by-edgar-a-poe/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-tell-tale-heart-short-story-by-edgar-a-poe/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"The Tell-Tale Heart" Short Story by Edgar A. Poe'. 8 June.

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