The Tell Tale Heart Edgar Allen Poe

Mind Map by zoe.mcdacy, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by zoe.mcdacy over 5 years ago


Mind Map on The Tell Tale Heart Edgar Allen Poe, created by zoe.mcdacy on 09/17/2014.

Resource summary

The Tell Tale Heart Edgar Allen Poe
1.1 The narrator opens up the story by insisting he isn't mad and he has a disease, and explains that he commited a murder. It begins in the old man's house. The narrator loves the old man, but is so agitated by his pale eye he decides to murder him. Every night he went into the old man's room until one day he took extra caution, then attacked the man, crushing his body under the bed until he was 'stone dead'. He carefully dismembered the body and hid it under the floorboards. The neighbors heard a shriek and called the police. When the police arrive the narrator invites them inside, allowing them to investigate the house. After they find nothing suspicious he invites them to chat. The hours of chatting go by and he is becoming more paranoid, hearing the old man's heartbeat and believing the police are mocking him. He eventually can't take it and bursts out yelling and confessing to the crime.
2.1 Guilt
2.1.1 The theme of guilt is one of the main morals displayed in this story. The man, while chatting to the police as if nothing extraordinary has happened, is slowly becoming inundated by the agony of his guilt. He grows so paranoid he is hearing sounds created by his subconscious. After he can suffer no longer he cries out in confession. The idea this creates is that the human heart can't withstand the burden of guilt.
2.2 Perception of reality
2.2.1 The narrator claims to not be insane, and tries to prove this point by describing himself as very wise.He has convinced himself that he isn't the slightest bit mad, that he is just nervous. Is his version of reality accurate? And what about the sounds he hears when he is frantic and paranoid by his guilt? We are sure the old man was stone dead, it is assumed he was hearing his own heart beating. This is all part of his own interpretation of reality.
3.1 The opening of the story, where the narrator is speaking, is presumably an insane asylum. The story takes place in a house. We are given few details about this house, we don't know where it is, but we know the narrator / old man have neighbors who have access to police services. The mood of the story is eerie, full of suspense and at times paranoid.
4.1 Police Officers
4.1.1 The police officers come to investigate the house.They fall for the narrator's cover-up stories, and afterwards are invited to rest and chat. They are taking for hours, unaware of the fact the narrator is growing more and more restless and paranoid. The narrator believes that they do suspect him of the crime, and are making a mockery of him. They discover the truth in the end.
4.2 Narrator
4.2.1 We don't find out what the Narrator's name is, We discover he has a disease which accentuates his hearing. He is presumed to be mentally unstable. He murders the old man, not based on personal resentment but because of his haunting pale eye. The story depicts the narrator to be a very cunning and careful criminal. His reasoning for commiting this murder may come across as cruel and/ or insane.
4.3 Old Man
4.3.1 The old man is the victim of the murder in this story. He lived with the narrator, who claimed to feel sympathy and love for the old man, disregarding physical features- his eye. The old man's eye is described as being like a vulture eye, pale blue with a film over it. He is murdered by the narrator under the weight of a heavy bed.
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