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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Short Story Analysis: "The Tell-tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe

by Edgar Allan Poe                         


         The persona of this short story, the “I” here, is narrating how and why he has killed the old man, who he/she has taken care of, in his room.

         Even though this persona has loved the aforementioned old man who has never done anything wrong, he/she has still proceeded to kill him because of his very wide blue eye, with a film over it, and which resembled a vulture’s eye, that chilled the persona’s bones.

         Three police officers are now in the old man’s house to investigate because a shriek has been heard by a neighbor at the time of the murder. The persona tells the officers that the shriek has come from him/her in a dream, and that the old man is not in the country.

         After the officers have searched the entire house, they, including the persona, sat on individual chairs, and the chair of the persona is on the spot where he/she has been buried the old man underneath. The four men exchange pleasantries, as the officers are satisfied and are convinced that there has been no foul play.

         However, the persona starts to become uneasy when a low, dull, fast sound is heard, and it steadily increases in volume, until the persona shouts, "Villains…dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! Here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"



1. The persona/ narrator- the “I” who kills the old man
2. The old man
3. The three police officers

B. PLOT - Linear

  a)  Introduction
  The story opens with the persona wondering whether he/she is mad

  b)  Rising Action
   Things start to heat up when the idea of killing the old man comes into the persona’s mind.

   c)  Climax 
    On the 8th night, the persona finally satisfies his plan of murder.

          d)  Falling action 
          Things start to “fall” when the police officers search the house and nothing says that there has been “foul play.”
        e.) Denouement

           In the end, the persona admits the crime after hearing a sound that has grown louder and louder.


a)  place – in the old man’s home 

b)  time- eight days, and the old man is killed on the 8th night

c)  weather conditions- fine

d)  social conditions- middle-class

 e)  mood or atmosphere- eerie

         The Point of View used in this short story is the First Person - The story is told  by the protagonist, the narrator or persona, the “I” here.


         For me, the literary devices used in this story are Symbolism and Irony. The old man’s eye here symbolizes evil that the persona is so afraid of. But, there is Irony when this persona uses an evil deed to shut off the evil eye.


         In my opinion, the theme Crime does not pay is applicable to this story. -- ARV

1 comment:

  1. Hi, can I ask 2 questions? Thanks. One is, what is the significant human experiences shown in the story? And the second is, how can you relate with the story? �� God bless you


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