The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe depicts the story of a murderer who appears to be mad, and yet the murderer spends the story trying to convince the reader that he is actually a sane person. In writing this story Poe does a great job of capturing exactly how someone who did just commit such a heinous act, especially someone who was most likely in the wrong state of mind from the get go. It’s not him accepting whether or not h’s mad, it’s him arguing, creating rules of what Madmen could or could not do, and yet the writing is done so masterfully, in the nervous almost jumbled manner to depict the racing thoughts of someone who has been suffering from some plight of the mind. Poe helps show that the narrator is indeed mad by the tone of the writing, the symbolism of the man’s eye, and the repetition of the narrators idea of what causes someone to be mad. Through these literary devices Poe helps truly show the insanity that plagues the narrator.
The first way Poe shows just how mad the narrator is, is with the tone of the writing. Throughout this excerpt the narrator describes himself as nervous, and yet at the same time, he seems incredibly excited when he can discuss how he went about killing the old man and what preparations he took to avoid being caught. He goes from nervously speaking of what it is that makes a person mad, and what madmen are like, and yet when he begins to talk of how he killed the old man, the tone shifts to one with more excitement that nervousness. He also continues to speak of his idea of madmen, asking the reader if his cunning movements are “[something] a madman [of] been so wise to do.”(Poe). I am almost positive that this character must be crazy with just how he writes. His writing establishes a tone of someone who is trying to quickly make known what they did, in part because they are proud of it or want recognition, and in part because they believe what they did isn’t crazy, not because of what they did, but how they did it. This helps shed some light on the mental state of the narrator but Poe uses other elements to further get these points across.
Another example of a literary element Poe used to help show that the narrator is mad is his symbolism of the man’s eye. He was willing to kill a man because of the way his eye looked, and he constantly referred to it as the old man’s “Evil Eye”(Poe). By referring to it as evil, in his eyes at least, it makes his actions appear to be those of the just as he was eradicating evil from this world. This is part of what allows the narrator to believe he isn’t mad as he could think he is the one doing a good deed. However as far as the reader knows, especially from this excerpt, the old man’s eye may have just been deformed to a degree. However for the narrator this eye became the bane of his existence, and he could no longer live with it in his world, so he killed the man. This also helps show how the narrator is mad as he believes his own grand illusions of the old man having some kind of evil eye to help him deal with the crime he had committed and the disease he was still suffering from. In this way as well poe shows how this man failed to cope with his madness, snapped, and killed the old man because of his own delusions.
Lastly Poe showcases the narrator’s insanity by using the literary element of repetition. This literary element