Works Cited

  • "Edgar Allan Poe Biography." Web. 29 Apr. 2011. <>.
  • Poe, Edgar A. Chapter 2. The Tell-Tale Heart. 36-40. Print.
  • "A Short Biography of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)." Edgar Allan Poe, Short Stories, Tales, and Poems. Web. 03 May 2011. <>.
  • "The Tell-Tale Heart." Free Study Guides for Shakespeare and Other Authors. Web. 02 May 2011. <>.

Character Analysis

Edgar Poe uses an unreliable narrator. The narrator retells the murdering of the old man as if the crime would dismiss him from his sanity. I assume the narrator to be male but in ways the narrator can be female as well but it isn't clarified to go one way or the other. At the beginning, it could be that he/she is confessing to a judge, cellmate, newspaper, or psychiatrist and feeling the need to express themself in great detail to prove that he/she is in fact sane. The narrator's personality appears to be normal until the old man's "vulture eye" begins to haunt them, it is then they seem to have a real psychological problem because they have the motivation to kill the innocent old man because of his eye and for no other reason. The narrator had no problem with him."I loved the old man. He had never wronged me."(Poe 37.) But in the end the narrator is clearly sick as he/she can hear the old man's heart beating through the floorboards out of guilt and dramatically confess to the police that they murder the old man.

Setting Analysis

Usually in the case with first-person narratives, there are multiple settings to the story. The action of the tale takes place in the house the narrator shares with the old man which seemed to be very comforting and a big house. At the same time, the narrator is telling the story from either a prison or an insane asylum where he has been incarcerated. But even more importantly, the setting is actually inside the obsessed mind of the narrator himself, for the crucial climactic event of the story, which is his hearing the beating of the dead man's heart and takes place solely within his own tortured imagination.

Plot Summary

The narrator of the story is a renter who tries to prove that he is sane and not crazy because his land lord has one dead eye and is haunted by it - so he feels he has to kill him and does by silenty going into his room with strategy, kills him and conceals him under the floor boards of his room. The police come over to the house because they got a report from the neighbor saying that they heard a shrieking so they checked it out and the narrator had them fooled into thinking that everything was normal and end up having a pleasant conversation with the narrator in his room. The narrator however begins to hear the beating heart of the dead man underneath the floorboards and tries to talk louder to drown out the beating but it only gets louder, the renter is the one that can hear it out of guilt and the policaman are just sitting there laughing and having a good time. Until the renter can't take the noise anymore and goes crazy and confesses to killing him by ripping off the floorboards and showing the beating of his heart.


Edgar Allan PoeEdgar Allen Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. He is one of three children from David and Elizabeth Poe. He attended the University of Virginia but due to drinking a lot he quickly went in to debt even though his adoptive father had plenty of money had to quit school. In 1827, he joined the U.S. Army and became very successful but later on ignored his duties so he would be dismissed. In 1831, Poe went to New York city where he had some of his poetry published but still was a struggling writer as most beginning writers turn out to be. But he did win some prizes from a couple of his poems. He invented the modern detective story writing The Murders of the Rue Morgue. As most of his jobs he was an editor and didn't really go anywhere because those companies would run out of money so he would be out of the job. So he had plenty of time to do his own writing and get them published. He soon died before his time at the age of 40 but with all his works, he is still living.



I wasn't ever interested in the genres science fiction, fantasty, or horror. But my english class changed my perspectives on it just a little bit since it's of the units for the class. I read Edgar Allen Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart" as a reading assignment and the story just sucked me in. I could feel the emotions and visualize what the characters looked like and what they were doing.  I had read some of Poe's work in high school but didn't care much for it because it was so dark and something I wasn't interested in. But now this certain piece of work of his appealed to me just because it was fun to read and at one point had my heart racing a bit because of what was going on within the story. I especially chose this topic because the narrator is trying to prove they aren't insane and I like reading things that has to do with psychology just because I want to try and see what they are talking about and what's going through their minds and what they see.