The Terror of Madness in "The Tell-Tale Heart" Book Review by Nicky

The Terror of Madness in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
This essay explores the technique of madness utilized by Edgar Allen Poe in "The Tell-Tale Heart."
# 128040 | 811 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jun 25, 2010 in Literature (American) , Literature (General)

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This essay explores the techniques used for creating fear in the reader in "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. The essay argues that the most powerful technique Poe uses to cause fear in this story is creating a main character who is mad. Further, the essay argues that "The Tell-Tale Heart" is an effective horror story because Poe develops a narrator that the reader can relate to, even if the reader knows the narrator is mad. The essay suggests that by doing this, Poe not only leaves the reader wondering if the narrator is mad, but doubting if the reader himself is mad as well.

From the Paper:

"We also become frightened when we realize that this crazy man could be someone we know. This is truly horrifying when we read how the narrator imagines what the old man must be going thorough. For example, he thinks that the fright of the old man must be "extreme! It grew louder, I say louder, every moment!" (191). What we must realize is that the fright does not belong to the old man, but to the narrator. Poe increases fright when we read how the narrator dismembers the old man in the bathtub with his crazy reaction, "ha! ha!" (191). As if with a door slamming shut, Poe is closing the case on whether or no this narrator is crazy or sane."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Tell-tale Heart." The Complete Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Minnesota: Amaranth Press: 1984.

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