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.
2.1.1 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.
4.2.1 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.