Edgar Allan Poe’s short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" was published in 1843. The story follows a narrator who is not named. The narrator is set on his sound mind even after murdering an old man who, according to the narrator, has an evil eye. The murder is carefully thought over, and the murderer hides the body by partitioning and putting it under the floor. At the end, the guilt of the narrator reveals itself in the illusion that the heart of the old man is still thumping under the floorboards. The main objective of this paper is to define the main theme, the significance of the narrative point of view, the role of the irony and analyze the main symbol of the story.
The major theme of this short story is the theme of guilt. The narrator is guilty of murdering the old man, and he goes to a great extent to prove that he is not mad. The first person point of view is used in this story. Therefore, the reader interacts with the narrator directly. This theme has also helped to advance characterization. The guilt of the narrator is revealed through the characters used in the story
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“The Tell-Tale Heart” is full of irony. An example of irony is when the narrator tries to prove his sanity instead of proving his innocence. In this process, the narrator just manages to prove that he is guilty of murder. Further, the narrator says that it is not hard to kill the old man, yet guilt leads him to reveal that he is a murderer. The old man’s eye symbolizes authority. The eye dominates the narrator, and he plans to kill the old man in order to end this dominance. Therefore, these two elements have successfully led to the advancement of the story.
The principle symbol in “The Tell Tale Heart” is the eye, which also symbolizes the real meaning of human identity, which can never be split from the human body.