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Poe and the Tell Tale Heart

In: English and Literature

Submitted By deadbysunrise14
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Edgar Allen-Poe, born 1809 died 1849, is widely acclaimed as one of the first and greatest gothic writers. His output mostly consisted of short stories and poems for various American magazines in the 1840s. During his lifetime, he achieved fame and recognition however he lived a life of poverty. An alcoholic and an opium taker, his stories often display a surreal or dreamlike style. The world which Poe would have known was more superstitious and dangerous than what we know today. For example, in the 19th century having a coma could be mistaken for death, as a result, it was not uncommon to be buried alive, Poe included live burial in many of his works – to exploit public fears. One of the main assets of his work however is his ability to build intense suspense. By using a variety of techniques Poe was able to create tension and mystery in his (short) stories:
Poe employs excessively detailed descriptions and repetition to delay the reader’s arrival at the final climax; Poe does this because he wanted to give time for the suspense to build up before arrival at the inevitably blood-curdling climax. For example, In tell-tale heart before the murderer kills the old man there is a substantial amount of repetition and more complex sentences : ” cautiously -- oh, so cautiously -- cautiously (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.” As a result of this delay, the reader becomes even more inquisitive over what events will happen next.
The narrator’s use of unnatural language hints at the abnormal mental state of the narrator: He describes the old man’s eye as ‘Evil’ or ’Damned’- damned in this case meaning satanic or cursed. The reader, therefore, has cause to doubt the sanity of the narrator and therefore, what he is going to do. Furthermore the narrator in TTH enjoys recounting, in gruesome detail, and is...

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