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How does Poe create a picture of the psychotic/insane central character?

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How does Poe create a picture of the psychotic/insane central character? Poe manages to create a realistic vision of an insane narrator by using a range of various methods. For instance, in "The Tell-Tale Heart" Poe makes use of light and darkness, the description of the man's eye and the time frame to make the story more scary than anything else: "I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out". This creepiness of the story indicates the madness of the narrator to the reader. Furthermore, Poe gives the reader the impression that the narrator is very intelligent, deceptive and somewhat charming. For example he says "They sat, and while I answered cheerily". This shows that he is putting on a good front for the police and making them believe he is normal. His intelligence makes him even more dangerous and worrying because of what he is capable of doing. Moreover, during the story the central character is constantly trying to convince the reader that he is not insane. ...read more.


Poe makes the tension rise and fall so that you keep wanting to read on. Likewise, the rhythm is also varied to emphasise the tension. Later, the narrator's paranoia develops and takes over as he begins to imagine the beating of the old man's heart after he is dead. This is impossible so it is likely that it is his own heart as he gets more and more fearful when the police do not leave and he thinks that they suspect him of the murder: "louder, louder! It is the beating of his heart". Poe uses suspense to make the reader's heart beat faster particularly at this point. Moreover, the narrator admits he is 'nervous' and has a mental condition. However, he does not feel that he is mad but just feels that his senses have sharpened. This shows that he is in denial and is paranoid because it is probable that he is now based in a mental asylum and he believes he shouldn't be there and is trying to prove his sanity. ...read more.


This shows that the narrator enjoys his influence over the man's life and gloats over his terror. The groan seems likely to have come from his own voice, as a result of his obsession he cannot tell the difference. He also feels satanic devilish pity towards the old man although he is the one terrorising him. Largely, Poe presents the narrator as a sadistic person with a lack of conscience and self-control. In general, "The Tell-Tale Heart" consists of a monologue in which the murderer of an old man protests his insanity rather than his guilt: "You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded". By the narrator insisting so emphatically that he is sane, the reader is assured that he is indeed deranged. When the storyteller tells his story, it's obvious why. He attempts to tell his story in a calm manner, but occasionally jumps into a frenzied rant. Poe's story demonstrates an inner conflict; the state of madness and emotional breakdown that the subconscious can inflict upon one's self. ?? ?? ?? ?? Vinod Khuttan ...read more.

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