“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe Essay

1. From what point of view is Poe’s story told? Why is this point of view particularly effective for “The Tell-Tale Heart”?
Poe’s story is told from the narrator’s point of view. This point of view is effective for the story because it gives the reader a sense of what was going on in the narrator’s mind. 2. Point to details in the story that identify its speaker as an unreliable narrator.

In the beginning of the story, the narrator states that he is mad.

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Throughout the story, especially at the end, the narrator hears things that no one else can hear, making him an unreliable narrator. 3. What do we know about the old man in the story? What motivates the narrator to kill him?

We know the old man was he wealthy because he had gold, he was kind because he had never wronged the narrator, and he had a pale blue eye; with a film over, as the narrator states.

The feeling the narrator got when the old mans’ blue eye looked at him motivated him to kill the old man. He says, “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees─very gradually─I made up my mind to take the life of the old man…” 4. In spite of all his precautions, the narrator does not commit the perfect crime. What trips him up?

The narrator did not commit the perfect crime due to the shrieking of the old man while he was killing him. That shriek was heard by a neighbor, resulting in the police coming to the narrators’ house to see if everything was okay. 5. How do you account for the police officers’ chatting calmly with the murderer instead of reacting to the sound that stirs the murderer into a frenzy?

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