The Use of Different Literary Elements in The Tell-Tale Heart, a Short Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Telltale Heart”
During the creation of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story “The Telltale Heart”, he uses several different elements to weave us the reader a thrilling page turner. He uses the elements of setting, tone in which he writes, point of view and even the characterization to create this chilling tale of suspense. For myself I believe that the main theme of this short story is guilt being monstrous and consuming nearly everything until it drives a person to complete madness.
If we dismantle a few of the key parts of the story we can see how these elements all interact with one another to pull together our main them being consuming guilt. We enter the story with a seemingly mad-man hitting the reader with a barrage of questions about being mad (Charters,1127); he seems to be on an adrenaline rush of some sort almost this peak the readers interest and pushes us to read on. Our narrator carries on the story by telling us that the old man’s eye is just like a vulture trying to consume him and he must kill the eye(Charters,1128); notice how it is not the old man our narrator wishes dead just that awful haunting eye. Our narrator went on to plot the death of the old man for days just waiting and waiting until eventually he was finally successful in killing the old man by smothering him to death. The immediate emotion by the narrator was relief that the vulture like eye would no longer bother him. I feel during this next stage of the process is where the immediate guilt begins to set in as our author is dismembering the old man’s body to be hidden away to hid his guilt for killing the man(Charters,1129) The police hearing of the screaming show up and are initially convinced that the narrator was not guilty of any wrong doing; however our narrator is eventually consumed with guilt hearing the repeating heartbeat getting louder and louder driving him mad enough to eventually confess to the entire crime of killing and dismembering the old man(Charters,1130)
I feel that the overall message or theme that Mr. Edgar Allan Poe is trying to get across with this story is that eventually the truth with always come to be known so it is best to just save yourself the madness and guilt; Just confess when you have done something in error.
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