The Tell Tale Heart – By Edgar Allan Poe

“Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards you shall see! I killed him.” The story story The Tell Tale Heart is a gothic protagonist text written by Edgar Allan Poe. In this short story there is 2 main characters, 1 is an older man and the other man who cares for the old man, is insane. It follows the mad man tries to convince us that he is not mad through out the story by telling us all his ‘logical’ reasons for why he did what he did.  Throughout the short story  The tell Tale Heart, Edgar creates the main character and give him gothic protagonist qualities by him using his emotions instead  logic thinking, he also gives the character signs of contrasting qualities.


At the beginning of the story shorty the main character specifically states that “…I am not mad?” he asks questions as if he is unsure of himself when in fact he is. He watches the old man sleep for 7 nights each at about 12 o’clock and on the 8th night he stood watched the old man but this time the old man woke up and felt a presentness of someone. it was at that time he felt and saw the “vultures eye”. Seeing the eye his anger increased dramatically which made forget about the logical side of murder and what the consequences to your socially and mentally. With growing anger the temperature of his blood dropped to ice cold, all his decisions from then on was basic off the emotion anger. Every movement, every word, every thought was anger and hatred. He loved the old man but he abandoned all he’s logical thinking and followed threw with anger because he was mad. The way that he had hidden the body i found very disturbing, i become anxious just imagining it how he would b full of anger and rage, chopping up a body and hiding it beneath the floor boards.Being mad is something he could not help it was the sickness that had consumed and controlled him. I felt sorry for the caretake because he loved the old man but his rage and anger took control of him and made him murder him.


The man shows contrasting qualities within his personality by giving the good and bad he does so by saying how he loved the old man he lived with but hated his “vulture eye”, he also says “I Heard sounds from heaven; and i heard sounds from hell.” here he has the contact of good and bad, between love and hate, Heaven and hell. Having the disinct contrasts within his personality only proves and gives more evidence that he s in fact mad and not sane as he states at the beginning. “…why do u say that i am mad? Can you not see that i have full control of my mind? Is it not clear that I am not mad? Indeed the illness only made my mind…” by him asking all these questions he is unsure of himself he does not really no whether he is or not, he believes that the “illness” he made only made him stronger and more capable however the illness he is speaking about is in fact that he is going/is mad. Hearing “sounds from heaven” and hearing …’sounds from hell.” Are two contrasts between good and evil. Hearing sounds form heaven allows him to see and feel the good within himself and in the old man. The sounds from hell quickly over powered and took control over him, he was unable to ignore them and and told him to kill the old man cos he could hear and feel evil and so he took action and did and evil act. has he describes how he killed the old man he he set the mood of being calm by using long sentences explaining everything he id doing in great detail. where as the when turned himself into the police for what he had done his sentences became very short and very explosive which set the mood of him being anxious and paranoid. which made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable about how he al went about it. I feel sorry for him because he is mad he is unable to tell he wronge’s from right he is confused and overpowered by evil and hatred.


Edgar created a character that portrays  gothic protagonist qualities which makes us uncomfortable, gives us goose bumps, makes us squeamish by using mood make you feel like as a gothic protagonist text should. He use the character to create a mood throughout the text of him being calm and in control of everything, when he is really mad.




Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Georgia,

    Thank you for getting your response in on time to receive feedback.

    You have clearly identified your element of gothic fiction (gothic protagonist) and the characteristics of said element.

    I would like to see you be clearer in your analysis of your gothic protagonist. Explain your evidence more, ensure you are being clear with your language choices when explaining your point and look to develop a stronger personal response to the characteristics you are discussing.

    Mrs. P


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