• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, we see investigations into abnormal psychological states and obsessive behaviour. By comparing The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado explain to what extent you think this is true.

Extracts from this document...


In the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, we see investigations into abnormal psychological states and obsessive behaviour. By comparing 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' explain to what extent you think this is true. Both 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' reveal a psychotic narrator unravelling a macabre tale of irrational fear or revenge. But how does Poe so convincingly evoke the distorted mind of such a character? One way that Poe achieves this is that both stories employ the first person narrator -a technique which allows the reader a privileged view inside the character's mind. In TTH, the unnamed narrator and in TCoA, it is Montreso. Everything that is told to us has to pass through the narrator's perception and this allows us to judge his trustworthiness, his biased viewpoint, his state of mind. In both stories, the protagonist in both stories reveals immediately, in fact in the very first line of the story, that they both victims to mania. The protagonist of TTH is clearly mad. His first utterance with the exclamation , staccato phrasing, pauses , repetitions gives the effect of a highly agitated mind who immediately asks us to concord with him that he is completely sane: "True! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been, and am; but why will you say that I am mad?" ...read more.


suspicion: "for the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them".These are no spontaneous crimes of passion but meticulously planned and gruesome murders. As opposed to the raving ramblings of a maniac , we hear the pride of the narrator in the planning and execution of the murder. "You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what caution - with what foresight -with what dissimulation I went to work".The horror which the reader experiences stems from the way that the narrator can so casually and unemotionally portray these horrific killings.What is interesting in TTH is how the narrator can distance himself from the actual deed. The narrator in TTH claims that it is not the old man that he wishes to kill ; instead, he merely wishes to close forever the Evil eye: ""For it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye." Such disassociation from the evil deed that he intends to perpetrate on this innocent old man shows his lack of any emotional involvement with the deed: he does not see that closing the eye forever inevitably involves causing harm to the old man. He rationalises to himself that he is merely ridding himself of the eye and the old man is incidental to this. All these symptoms experienced by the protagonist-the emotional instability, the delusions, the detachment from reality all point to schizophrenia. ...read more.


This serves to physically isolate him from the multicoloured throng around him; it also represents his role as executioner of Montresor. Also, in the gothic tradition, Poe shows these protagonists' instinctive needs and desires are fulfilled at a cost: guilt. The protagonist of 'The Tell-Tale Heart' feels compelled to confess his murderous deed; Montresor , fifty years later, feels impelled to confide what happened. Through all these strategies Poe allows the reader a startling revelation into the minds of a psychotic. So powerful and convincing are the portrayals of these states of mind, one cannot help but wonder how he had such an intuitive grasp of this subject. The answer lies in his own life. He himself was subject to delusions and depression, probably brought about by bouts of alcoholism.He would disappear for days on end, taking laudanum, drink but then return to resume his writing with passion. It might be that his experiences during these days provided with the material to delve deeply into the human psyche. In conclusion, both in his own life and in his literature, Poe had a predisposition and fascination with abnormal psychological states. In these two stories, his decision to portray his protagonists as criminals allowed them to revel to the extremes of such behaviour and pushed them even beyond this so that both emerge with a sense of guilt and inability to deal with their psychosis. Therefore, the reader is presented with a thorough and thought-provoking exploration of the minds of abnormal psychological states ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. In the Fall Of The House of Usher, how does Edgar Allan Poe lend ...

    The house can be said to be sentient then, and controls the fate of its inhabitants. Roderick admits that for 'many years, he had never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be restated'.

  2. How does Auden portray his grief and loss in Funeral Blues?

    Auden uses capitals to make the "He Is Dead" stand out and be read with pauses so that it comes over powerfully. The poet doesn't mention any names about who his lover could have been because he is a homosexual and when this poem was written it was against the law to be one.

  1. 'It is possible to defend the idea that Satan is the true hero of ...

    'Her ruin' shows Satan's intentions, and gives Eve tainted imagery. When he describes her 'with ravishment beheld' and approaches her 'erect', there is an erotic and aggressive undertone that is given to Satan's approach. The degeneration of Satan in Book IX is reinforced by Milton with visual images ('rising mist').

  2. Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed. Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar ...

    a level which subtracts from the potential criticism of the primary adulterers themselves. Jerry is emotionally detached from Emma, yet still has a vulgar, sexual interest in her, as indicated in the final (yet chronologically foremost) scene in which he declares, 'I should have had you, in your white, before

  1. Frailty, thy name is woman(TM)(TM) A.C Bradley has judged Gertrude to be a weak ...

    Claudius clearly shows that he views Gertrude as his possession yet he mentions her last suggesting that becoming king and his own ambitions are more important than her. In addition Claudius uses Gertrude as a pawn to uncover the reasons for Hamlet's change.

  2. The theme of the Gothic in Rebecca

    Both the narrator and Rebecca fulfil the archetypal role of the heroine to a degree, yet using Freud's mirror stage analysis it is possible to indicate that the two women are in fact one woman subdivided. The opening lines of Rebecca are now infamous, the use of heavy descriptive language

  1. How Edgar Allan Poe creates horror in 'The Pit and the Pendulum'

    He then goes on to say ?Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead?, this description tells us that, while he did not actually think he was dead, he had to have felt like that. Poe uses real life locations that had places of torture during the

  2. Heart Of Darkness Creative Writing

    He did everything right, by doing everything wrong. Who would have every thought a man like Kurtz could fulfil a sense of wrongness? He did not simply ?adapt?, he made himself a Native. I was in time. In time to know him, meet him. His heart is too dark to pump the pale blood around his body, now.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work