Is it possible to even commit a perfect murder? Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a mystery, breath-taking short story. This short story has two main characters, the old man and the narrator. As the narrator tells it, they live together in a dark and scary house. The narrator says that he is mad and crazy, and then he tells the story of why he thinks he is crazy. Even though somebody thinks that they’ve committed a perfect murder, it just isn’t perfect.
Our narrator starts out the story, loving the old man very much. Poe says, “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me” (2). The narrator loved the old guy very much, but there was just one thing that bothered the narrator about the old man, and it was “the evil eye”. “He had the eye of the vulture, a pale blue eye with a film over it” (2), the eye bothered him deeply. The narrator decides to watch the old man for seven days straight to see if the eye ever opened, but it never did, it stayed shut. On the eighth night, the narrator tries to poke his head inside the room, but the old man wakes up and figures that something is there. The narrator never hears the old man lay down, so he just sits outside the door. As he sits there, he hears a beating noise. The beating noise gets louder and louder, and the narrator figures out it is the beating of the old man’s heart. The narrator runs in screaming, and the old man screams too. Then the narrator throws the old man down the floor, and drags the bed on top of the old man. The old man then dies, and the narrator hides the old man’s body under the floor. The neighbors had heard a scream and called the cops. The cops came and saw nothing, but they stayed for awhile, and the narrator starts hearing the beating of the old man’s heart again. At the very end, he confesses he had killed the old man.
The narrator talks about how he has evil in his nature. He talks about much he loves the old man, so that is the good natured side of him. Then he talks about the evil eye and it brings out the nature of evil in the narrator. “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually – I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (2). This quote explains that the evil eye creeps the narrator out; this brings out the evil side of him. It makes him want to kill the old man, so he never has to see the eye and get the chilling feeling again.
This eye that Poe talks about, it could be real or it could all be made up. Poe talks about how it has a “film over it” (2) but we never really know whether it is real, or it is just all in the narrator’s head. The eye could be his real eye and something is wrong with it, or it could be that they have a different outlook on the world from their point of view. The narrator loves the old man, but he can’t stand the eye that the old man has. “For it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil eye” (3). In this sentence, the narrator is trying to say that the old man doesn’t bother him at all, but when he looked or thought about the evil eye it was difficult to do anything. The eye is very important in Literature, because it is how we see the world from our point of view.
Americans have this thing where if they feel like if they’re under pressure, they end up confessing what they’re hiding. They know that if they’re guilty, they will tell sooner or later. In our brain positive usually takes over negative, but when we are guilty, the negative takes over because they’re scared of what is going to happen. “I admit the deed! – tear up the planks! Here, Here!” (18). In this sentence, the narrator admits that he had killed the old man. The beating heart kept bothering the narrator, and it bothered him to the point that he just had to tell the police where the old man’s body was.
Poe’s deep mystery was interesting, and it all leaves us with the question what happened and why he did what he did? The eye leaves us all thinking about whether or not it is real. Even though the narrator had thought he had committed the perfect murder, in the end the guiltiness takes over his head and he confesses everything. He is very American, because Americans can’t take the guiltiness, because we know that if we did something wrong it’s going to stay on our conscious until we tell somebody. The narrator had the heartbeat that kept beating in his head, and it wouldn’t go away until he confessed that he killed the old man to the police. So in the end, the narrator realizes that a perfect murder can never be perfect.
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