(By: Edgar Allan Poe)


1. The Story of Suspense & Horror

Q. 1: Discuss the story as a story full of suspense and horror.

Answer: “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a story full of suspense and horror. The warp and woof of this story is based on horror. Let’s discuss the main points of horror and suspense in the story.

First element of horror and suspense is the intention of the narrator who wants to kill an old man. Second element is the reason for which the narrator wants to kill a person. He says: “I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembles that of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with film over it.”

            Third element of horror is the throwing of continuous ray of light from the lantern at the old man’s eye.

Fourth element of horror is the murder of the old man and the chopping of the limbs. Fifth element of horror is the agony of the murderer on hearing the heart beat of the old man. Sixth element of suspense is the arrival of the police. Seventh element of suspense and horror is the pricking of the killer’s heart which in the end compels the murderer to confess his crime.    (Words: 186)

2. The Story as a Study of Human Psychology

Q. 2: The story is a study of human psychology and abnormal behaviour. Discuss. OR Why did the narrator kill the old man? OR How the dead body of the old man was disposed off? How was the murderer caught? ORIs the narrator a psychological case? OR Do you think that there is ample proof of the narrator’s insanity in the story “The Tell-Tale Heart?”

Answer: The story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a study of human psychology and abnormal behaviour. In the story, we meet a killer. He wants to kill an old man because of his vulture –like eye.  He makes effort to kill the old man for seven days and nights but fails badly because he finds his eyes closed. However, on eighth night, he enters his bed room and grows furious because he finds his eyes opened. He feels irritation once again, pulls the heavy bed cover over the old man and presses. The old man dies because of suffocation. After killing the old man, he cuts off his head, arms and legs and puts the dead body under the wooden planks. No spot of blood appears on his clothes. Everything appears normal. It shows that he is not totally mad. But very soon, he feels old man’s heart beating loudly. He talks loudly so that it may be suppressed but fails badly and gets confused. In the end, we see him foaming and raving. Then, he confesses his crime. The feelings of conscience indicate that his mind is working at all. He is only a psychological case, not an insane. (Words: 198)