Fiction and Symbolism in the Tell-Tale Heart

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Allan Poe uses his words sparingly in the “Tell-Tale Heart”. The story provides an examination of Paranoia and a deterioration of the mind. Poe explains abundantly the detail of an approach to increase the killer’s obsession based on certain entities like the eyes of the old man, the heartbeat, and the psychological problems facing the narrator (Allan & Poe, 3). The short story is full of stylistic devices. Both the economic style and guided language alongside other lines used by Poe build his content, and how the structure relates to originality leading to suspicion. The paper explains the element of fiction and three symbols in the story “Tell-Tale Heart.”

The Element of Fiction

The story itself is a gothic fiction. In the story, Edgar Allan Poe makes an incredible brutal description made from mental creation rather than a real scenario on any ground. The narrator is in a battle between self and alters ego (Toikkanen, 50). The narrator explains the love for an old man but on the contrary, violently murders him. The narrator also confesses his madness by trying to separate the person he loves from the old man from the evil eye that triggers his hatred for the man. Consequently, he kills the man and buries him in the same house. An element of fiction is noted when the narrator said, “I heard all this sound from heaven and in the earth…” (Allan & Poe, 5) In reality, it is not possible to hear a sound from heaven.

Symbols in the “Tell-Tale Heart”

The eye of the old man is described as blue and cloudy or shielded with a shroud (Amir, 20). This is probably an ailment resembling, corneal ulcer, implying that those involved have issues of an “inward vision” complication an aspect is termed as an attitude directed to the world. “The characters are held in the darkness of life…” (Allan & Poe, 5) Reading the story is similarly separated through this dim eye, resulting in probably some disarray and disappointment with the content.

The lantern is also a symbol of the story. According to the narrator “, the lantern is so cool that one can burn candle or oil on it…” (Allan & Poe, 4) It also contains hinges that can be raised and lowered. The narrator always keeps the lantern dim. It happens to be the only weapon that the narrator has against the old man. It serves to explain that occasionally there is shrouded light in the darkest spots. On the off chance that people can calculate how to get their lights open, they can see it.

The bed explained in the story stands for the opposite appropriate occurrence of the bed and bedrooms. The storyteller is against all room behavior, by misusing the helplessness of those sleeping. People are possibly most powerless in bed, and the rest hoping they have a sense of security in their bedrooms (Toikkanen, 50). The symbol of the bed is turned by Poe. The bed is the weapon for the storyteller to snuff out the elderly person. The bed being the weapon then definitely the bedroom is the burial place.


The “Tell-Tale Heart” combines all aspects of gothic. Edgar Allan Poe has downsized the eighteenth-century Gothic epic into an account of only a couple of thousand words. Killing is rarely legitimized, however, it is at times justifiable when an individual has been headed to limits and isn’t thinking obviously. For instance, Poe’s storyteller didn’t slaughter the old man for monetary benefit but his own motive that he later himself terms as madness. Motiveless and hinged minds could at times lead to criminal and unsocial acts. Consequently, people should be handled with care even when they are in the wrong to establish the root cause of their acts.

Works cited

Allan, E., & Poe, E. A. (1983). he tell-tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

Amir, S. (2018). Stylistic Analysis of the Short Story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Angloamericanae Journal, 3(1), 18-25.

Toikkanen, Jarkko. “Auditory Images in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review Journal 18.1 (2017): 39-53.

Cite this paper

Fiction and Symbolism in the Tell-Tale Heart. (2020, Sep 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/fiction-and-symbolism-in-the-tell-tale-heart/



What do the eye and the heart symbolize in The Tell-Tale Heart?
The eye symbolizes the narrator's guilt and fear of being caught, while the heart symbolizes the old man's humanity and the narrator's own descent into madness.
What does the evil eye symbolize in The Tell-Tale Heart?
The evil eye symbolizes the narrator's guilt and paranoia. The narrator is so consumed by guilt and paranoia that he imagines the old man's eye following him everywhere he goes.
What literary devices does Poe use in The Tell-Tale Heart?
Poe uses the literary devices of first person point of view, intense description, and repetition.
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