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The Tell–Tale Heart Essay

Although the narrator in “The Tell–Tale Heart” insists that he is not insane, I believe that he is insane. The madman hears unrealistic sounds. Moreover, he murders an old man with nonsensical reason. The narrator kills the old man because the old man’s eye frightens him. As the narrator says, “One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye with a film over it. 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.” This conveys that the narrator decides to kill the old man because he does not like the old man’s eye. Sane people do not kill others without an appropriate reason. The narrator, on the other hand, kills the old man with an inappropriate reason, thus proving his madness.

The narrator hears sounds that sane people do not hear. In paragraph 1 sentence 3, the narrator says, “I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell.” Later, after he kills the old man, while he sits with the police who had come to the old man’s house because of a suspicious noise, the narrator says, “My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted.” He hears delusionary sound of the dead old man’s beating heart. These tell me that he is insane because he hears what sane people do not hear. He says he hears a sound of the thing that is not real. In conclusion, I believe the narrator is definitely mentally ill. He murders the old man with thoughtless reason. He hears auditory hallucinations which the sane do not hear. Although the narrator does not believe he is insane, his actions and expressions in the Tell-Tale Heart are proves that he is completely insane.


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