Research Paper On Schizophrenia And Tell Tale Heart

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Edgar Allan Poe is acknowledged today as one of the most brilliant and original writers in American literature. His skillfully wrought tales and poems convey with passionate intensity the mysterious, dreamlike, and often macabre forces that pervaded his sensibility. He is also considered the father of the modern detective story. The Tell Tale Heart is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator remains nameless and sexless in the story. H/she takes care of an old man with whom the relationship is unclear.

At the beginning of the story, the narrator says that he loved the old man but he hates his eye and h / she believes that the eye is evil. H/she confesses that the one and only reason for killing the old man is his eye: "Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees - I made up my mind to take the life of the old man." The narrator begins the story by trying to convince the reader that h / she is not insane. The fact that the old man's eye is the only motivation to murder proves the narrator is mentally unstable. For seven nights precisely at midnight, the narrator enters the old man's room to observe the eye.

On the eighth night the narrator enters the room and the old man sat suddenly in his bed, crying out "who's there?" the narrator stood still for over an hour, as did the old man who did not lie back down. Then h / she opened the lantern slightly and the ray was on the eye only. This made the narrator go furious and he moved to the old man who shrieked once, he / she dragged him off his bed and killed him. The old man's body was chopped and buried under the planks of the floor. The police came because of a shriek reported by a neighbor. H/she invited them and they sat chatting, after a while the narrator started hearing the old man's heart beating from under the flooring.

The heart beat grew louder and louder, finally h / she confesses of killing the old man. At the beginning of the story the narrator asks the reader if they think of him mad: "I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?" the more h / she keeps asking the more the reader is convinced that h / she is mentally unstable. The narrator says in the story that he observes the old man every night precisely at midnight. At midnight most people are asleep and while people are sleeping their unconsciousness takes over them. The old man's eye might be the narrator, for when h / she describes the feelings of the old man as if they are h / her feelings.

The old man's room represents the unconsciousness because its face is imagined as something dark and unfamiliar to humans: "His room was as black as pitch with thick darkness." The narrator says in the story that he knew that the old man was scared, it is not possible for h / her to know the feeling of the old man unless it was h / her : "It was not a groan of pain, or grief - oh, no! - it was the low, stifled sound that arise from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well." H/she enters the room and opened the lantern, the ray was on the old man's eye only. H/she can clearly see the eye now. So the old man's room is the unconsciousness and there should be a wall between the unconsciousness and the consciousness, when h / she enters the room the wall is broken, h / she saw the h / her other self clearly. The narrator says that he can hear the old man's heart beat clearly, which is impossible, it was his own heart beating: "Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker, and louder and louder every instant." Then the narrator describes the murder where h / she says that he yelled and the old man shrieked once only: "He shrieked once - once only." Then h / she drags his body.

The police came later on, they say to h / her that h / her neighbor heard a shriek: "A shrike had been heard by a neighbor during the night." This means that it was the narrator's shriek because it was heard only once. If it was both the old man and the narrator's it wouldn't be just one shriek which proves again it's only the narrator. H/she is with the officers when h / she starts to imagine hearing voices coming from under the bed where he buried the old man. If there is a voice the officers would " ve heard it too but they did not hear it, this means that it is all in the narrator's head. H/she is uncomfortable and starts swinging the chairs. H/she say that h / her nervousness was very obvious but the officers did not notice h / her which is impossible and this means that the officers are just the creation of his imagination.

The whole thing was just in the narrator head and none of it is true. The narrator is suffering from schizophrenia which is proved in the context of the story. Schizophrenia is a humorous brain disorder characterized by delusional thinking and unique but unpopular perceptions. The old man's eye is the mirror of the narrator and h / she did not like the other self. H/she decides to end his fear by getting rid of the old man's eye and to get rid of the eye h / she has to enter the world of unconsciousness. [/b]


Free research essays on topics related to: beginning of the story, heart beating, story the narrator, mentally unstable, edgar allan poe

Research essay sample on The Tell Tale Heart And Edgar Allan Schizophrenia

The Portrait of a Madman: Schizophrenia in “The Tell Tale Heart”

by David Schlachter

In a time when mental illnesses were principally misunderstood and the domain of priests and jailers rather than science, Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Tell Tale Heart,” showed significant insight into the mind of a particular madman who manifested symptoms of what is today a recognized mental disease. Symptoms such as severe, sudden, and seemingly erratic deviations in action, the modification and denial of outside reality, and ambivalence starkly characterized and portrayed the mind of Poe’s schizophrenic.

From a third person perspective, many of the narrator’s actions would be interpreted as very sudden and unexplained deviations in typical behavior. Even the narrator realizes, to an extent, the arbitrary nature of his actions. He states that, “[the old man] would have been a profound man, indeed, to suspect [his actions].” (Poe 386) A person who, for seven days, “went boldly into the chamber, … calling [the old man] by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night,” (386) seems to abruptly change his course of action, to the extent of murdering the old man. When the police arrive, the narrator is, “singularly at ease,” (389). However, as time progresses the narrator swiftly becomes, “excited to fury.” This constant display of such frighteningly inconsistent action seemingly lacking motive is a clear symptom of schizophrenia. Flawed reasoning contributes to these actions, which is a result of the madman’s mind retreating inwards and incrementally denying, or masking, reality.

“The disease has sharpened my senses … not destroyed … not dulled them.” (385) The narrator’s insistence that his senses and, therefore, his perception of reality are not flawed is cause to question the validity of this claim. The inward focus of the narrator’s mind and his subsequent flawed perception of reality, is first manifest as the narrator tells us that the old man, “had the eye of a vulture … a pale blue eye, with a film over it,” (385). He further describes it as “a dull blue, with a hideous veil.” (387) This seems to be an exaggerated perception that is not reasonably faithful to reality. However, a more apparent flaw in perception is the supposed beating of the old man’s heart. As the narrator stands outside the old man’s door, he tells us that, “there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound … It was the beating of the old man’s heart.” This was a merely a projection of the narrator’s stress. As the old man lay dead under the floorboards, the narrator claims that the sound he professes to hear is, “the beating of his hideous heart.” It is interesting to note that as the narrator becomes more concerned about the suspicions of the police the supposed tatoo and volume of the sound he discerns increase. While the narrator’s perceptions may not be purely the insane mirage of a madman, they have clearly been modified substantially, more so than the degree of subjective reality that most people seem to experience. This denial of outside reality, or its modification in keeping with suspicions, is a symptom of schizophrenia. The narrator’s perception of the eye and heart was exaggerated in accordance with suspicions that he had generated. Clearly he distrusts the old man.

Although his suspicions and hatred are transparent to the reader, the narrator tells us that he “loved the old man,” and he had “never wronged [him, or] … given [him] insult.” However, the narrator also feels the urge to murder the old man. The feelings seem diametrically opposed and the narrator attempts to explain his ambivalence by stating that “it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye.” This presence of antipodal emotions focused on the same individual, at the same time, is another symptom of schizophrenia that is clearly manifested by the narrator.

The narrator of Poe’s, “The Tell Tale Heart,” is clearly a schizophrenic. Poe’s use of a first person narrator allows insight into this very interesting mind, and brings attention to the inward focus and isolation that fabricate outward symptoms, such as sudden and severe deviations in action, flaws in perception, and ambivalence, that produce a shockingly accurate portrait of a madman.

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