Poe’s Message in The Tell-tale Heart

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 496 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 496|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is told by a mentally unstable murder who is going insane and is trying to prove that he is completely normal. He does this by saying he has an immaculate sense of hearing, 'I heard all things in the heaven and in earth” '. In a way he sees himself as a divine or godly being. He is very delusional, and he cannot sense that he is mentally unwell. He keeps arguing with himself, 'if still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions, I took for the concealment of the body”. The main character tries to justify that there is nothing wrong with killing his old friend. He only kills him because he thinks his eye is “evil”. He loved him but for some reason the eye is haunting him. He jumps from asking the readers if they think is mad to telling us that he isn't. The main characters illusions make him murder and act insane.

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The narrator life is as if he is stuck in a nightmare. He has an illness, but he doesn’t think he does. This gets justified when he hears the heartbeat of the old man he just killed. The narrator’s anxiety gets so bad he not only hears the dead man’s heartbeat but starts to think everyone around him can hear it too. The heartbeat symbolizes the conscience and state of the narrator. Of course, he could not hear the heartbeat of the old man because he is dead. In reality, it could be his own heart beating and does not seem to realize it. In times of fear, stress, adrenaline, our heart beats loudly and we can feel it beating really strongly. For the narrator, he would have been stuck in this nightmare until he could not bear it anymore. He eventually confesses his “perfect crime” because he feels guilty and cannot stand the pressure of knowing he murdered someone. When he confesses, he is somewhat freed from his nightmare that he caused for himself. However, it will never end for him until the day he dies. He will constantly feel guilty and thinking about the crime.

Poe wants to convey to the readers that people are somewhat in control of your dreams and nightmares. However, not in the terms of when you are sleeping but more of what can happen in your life. Since the narrator could not distinguish between right or wrong, his life turned to a nightmare. His nightmare spiraled out of control making him psychotic and disillusioned. Humans are not perfect therefore we commit crimes, whether it be to us or too others. This in turn can be detrimental for us. The story teaches us that no matter what our own sense of guilt could expose us. For Poe it is better for us to stay away from doing wrong, seek help if need be and be a good person overall.   

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Poe’s Message In The Tell-Tale Heart. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“Poe’s Message In The Tell-Tale Heart.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Poe’s Message In The Tell-Tale Heart. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Poe’s Message In The Tell-Tale Heart [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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