The Tell Tale Heart - Interpretation
In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tale-Tell Heart” published in 1843, he describes how the Inarrator kills an old man and how he confesses his deed. At first, the lyrical me asks the reader “How, then, am I mad?” (Line 5) With this rhetorical question, the author is involved in the story and can later feel more the suspense. Furthermore, the reader deals with the question if the I-narrator is really mad or the things that will happen are extraordinary. When the author describes the eye of the old man, he uses the metaphor “my blood ran cold” to visualise the protagonist’s feelings. In the third section, the I-narrator starts to describe how he observes the old man in the seven nights. In this process and later on, the author makes use of dashes to mark things and stop the reader's flow. When he uses the hyperbole “for another hour I did not move” inline 51, the author underlines the fact that they didn’t move for a long time. There are two possibilities: one, the two men didn’t move really not for an hour and they would be very strange or two, the situation feels for the protagonists like an hour but in reality, it wasn’t. In general, the author did not make clear if the I-narrator is mad or the things happened for real. The reader has the opportunity to choose which possibility he thinks is real. When the author makes use of similes like “a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton” (line 85), the reader can better visualise the story in his mind and it feels more real. At last, when the protagonist has hidden his deed perfectly so no one could find out, he starts to hear the old man’s heart, he thinks and it grows louder and louder. I think that could be a metaphor for his guilty conscience. Although he hates the old man’s vulture eye, maybe he feels guilty of killing an innocent man. That’s why he imagines he hears his heartbeat. In the end, the story of Edgar Allan Poe can remind us to act more considered.