17 Sep 2016

BA English Short Story'The Tell Tale Heart' by E.A Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart  
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the most complex American writer. He can create an atmosphere of horror, strange fantasies and psychological abnormalities. While describing the normal episodes, he often catches reader unaware into some kind of nightmare which does not let the reader to go thereafter. A reader then experiences the world of horror and specter with him. amains an atist who takes art for  its purity and neatness and deliberately chooses him themes to create an effect which he intends to create at will.
The story “Tell Tale Heart" is also a story with horror and suspense. In the very beginning of the story the writer surprises the reader by declaring that he wished to kill the old man only because he did not like one of his eyes. The reader does not expect it so fast, not so early in the story thus he haunts the reader throughout the story. The story also tells us how a murderer who could have saved himself easily and everything was going his way but he could not face the prick of his conscious in the form of his loud heart beat and confess his crime before the police.

The murderer tells his story in detail. He tells us that he  is not mad. he planned everything very carefully. The murderer had a friend. He was an old man and the murderer did not like one of his eyes because it was like the eye of a vulture. The murder loved the old man but his eye was repulsive to him. He could not just bear it..Thus he decided to kill him in order to get rid of his eye.

 He made proper planning for this. He continued trying to kill the old man for seven nights. He would open the door of his room very carefully every night just at midnight but he could not kill him because he always found his eye closed. It was that because he did not dislike the old man s' evil eye opened..He wanted to enter the room but his thumb slipped on the fastening of the lantern and the old man sprang up in his bed, crying out “Who is there? The murderer kept himself still for about an hour. Then he heard the sound of his groaning.

His own heat was beating very loudly threw a ray of light from the lantern on him. It fell on the evil eye. It was open. This infuriated him. He fell on him at once, dragged him on the floor and pulled the heavy bed on him. The old man was dead because of the suffocation. He cut the corpse into pieces, took up three planks from the floor and deposited the pieces of the dead body there. He made everything just normal so that no one could doubt anything wrong.


When he had finished his work, three policemen arrived. A shriek had been heard by a neighbor and they had come to check. The murderer, however, satisfied them that the shriek had been uttered by him in a dream and the old man had gone  to the village. The policemen were satisfied and sat down just for a chat. In the meantime the heart of the murderer started beating so loudly that it became intolerable for him. He was, in fact, in the grip of his conscience and had no way out except to confess his crime before the police.

Is the killer in the story a mad man?
It is a story full of horror and suspense..The killer tells the story how he went to the old man s' room at mid night. He opened the door very carefully but his thumb slipped from the fastening of the lantern and the noise awakened the old man sat up his bed peering into the darkness. The killer waited for about an hour but the old man did not lie down to sleep. It seemed he was alarmed.

 The killer could not bear the suspense. He darted a thin gleam of light on the old man s' face. It caught the vulture eye. The killer flew into a fury. He pulled the old man down and suffocated him under the heavy bed. Then he chopped the body into pieces and concealed the pieces under the wooden planks of the floor. He did all this dirty job very quietly and neatly.

 The work done by him cannot be done buy any insane person. So, the killer cannot be regarded as a mad man. But the reason for which he kills the old man is not sound enough for the murder. A normal man cannot commit murder for such flimsy reason. Nobody in his senses can kill a man just for his ugly appearance. Therefore the killer is not a normal man in full possession of his senses. The reason for which the killer confesses the murder is again inadequate. It is impossible for human heat to go on beating after death. But the killer in the story says he clearly heard the dead old man s' heart beating under the floor.

On the base of these two reasons, we can say that the killer is not a normal man. There is something seriously abnormal and dangerous in the nature.

What happens after the murder?
By 4'O clock, the killer had disposed of the old man s' dead body. Just then there came a knock on the door. He opened the door. Three police men entered the room. They told him that some of the neighbors had reported a cry during sleep. He told that the old man was not at him .

The police men searched the room but found nothing to rouse the suspicion. the killer felt so safe that he began to chat with them. Suddenly he started the heart beat of the old man s' heart coming from the dead body..He tried to keep cool but the noise became louder and louder. He thought that the policemen were also hearing that noise. He got so nervous that he confessed the crime and handed himself over the police.

This part of the story reveals the effect of fear on the emotions of a weak man after committing a crime. Some people cannot bear the prick of the conscious. Forced by the prick of their conscious they reveal the inner feelings. So, same happens to the killer. He is unable to bear the prick of his conscious, so he confesses his crime to the policemen.

Important Questions:

1.Do you think that the killer in the story is a sane or insane one?

2.Discuss the story as a horror story?
3.Why did killer confess his crime before the police when he had cheated them very easily?

Important points to remember:
1. There can be no second opinion in being it a horror story,all the story is full of horrific scenes.

2.The story is following the Nazi theory:the things you don't like wipe them out from this world.

3.The old man is an innocent fellow with  a physical deformity and that is not his fault.

4.He is being killed because of this physical deformity as one of his eyes resembles that of a vulture.

5.The young man very actively ,on every night,goes to his chamber and on the eighth night ,he was successful in his mission.

6.He disposed off the old man s' dead body very cleverly and was also successful in cheating the policemen.

7.But in the end, he could not bear the prick of his conscience and confessed his crime to the policemen.

8.When we see the way of his murdering the old man , we can not say that the killer is an insane/abnormal person but when we know of his reason behind the murder,we can say that he is insane.

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