Tuesday, 22 April 2014

developing physical theatre

Sarah Brown
Edgar Allen Poe's A Tell-Tale Heart
 What is the story A Tell-Tale Heart about?


 The narrator an unnamed character starts by addressing the reader that he’s not mad but nervous, he then says that he’s going to tell a story that will defend his sanity but also confess to a murder in which he killed an old man. He loves the old man but hates a part of him in which he is afraid of his ‘evil eye’, he thinks that killing him will save the man from the ‘evil eye’ which shows he doesn’t realise he’s insane. The narrator explains that for eight nights he stares at the old man when he is sleeping by the old man’s bedroom door inspecting his eye. On the eighth night the old man wakes from his sleep inquiring about a noise he heard he doesn’t see the narrator or anything else, the narrator describes to the reader how the old man’s heartbeat quickens because he is afraid the old man goes back to sleep thinking it’s nothing only to be woken again by the narrator who then kills him with the old mans bed but not without a cry from the old man. The narrator then cuts the old man’s body into pieces and hides him beneath the floor boards; the narrator explains that he is no longer afraid of the eye or nervous as if he has been cured. All of a sudden the police are knocking at the old man’s door inquiring about a noise complaint made by a neighbour who had heard a cry or a scream coming from the house, the narrator who is very confident and no longer nervous allows them to conduct a thorough search of the house and the bedroom of the old man. He allows them to sit in the bedroom for a while and answers there questions confidently the police are convinced that he has done no wrong but whilst they are talking amongst themselves and laughing away the narrator has a break down saying to himself he can hear the old man’s heartbeat becoming louder and louder and tears the room apart and confesses to the murder of the old man.


Love and hate is the two themes in a tell-tale heart, in a part of the story the narrator confesses that he loves the old man but hates his evil eye, which is why he dismembers the old man’s body, to separate the old man from his evil eye. His delusional state only lets him focus on the hate for the eye instead of the love he has for the old man.



He is in a very nervous paranoid state throughout parts of the story, his state also causes trouble for him to realise what’s real and what is reality, and he has a sort of love for the old man but hates his evil eye it makes him more nervous and paranoid. The Mysterious narrator says that he has intense hearing and later on in the story explains that he can hear a ringing noise, these are symptoms of tinnitus which can cause hallucinations. It seems that the character truly doesn’t understand his own insanity.

The old man

The old man has corneal ulcer which is an infection in the eye which can decrease you’re vision, this is why the old man struggles to see the narrator through the door on the eight night that he hears a noise because he is slightly blind. The old man seems to trust the narrator or perhaps the narrator is a carer for the old man, because the old man gives the narrator the run of the house. The old man is wealthy because the narrator states at one point “for his gold I had no desire” the narrator must be his carer if he knows of the old man’s money and has the run of the house it would make sense because he’s blind he may need help with certain things around the house especially since he’s old.

The three policemen

They don’t play a major role but they are what drive the plot to the end, they are wise on staying around the house because they end up seeing what the pressure does to the narrator and how he confesses to murdering the owner (the old man) of the house.

The neighbour

The neighbour has a small but massive role to the story, the neighbour shows us that the neighbour and the old man are isolated from the community, we can see this from when the narrator is worried that a neighbour will hear a noise but why not anyone else like the street or the town? It also proves that the character doesn’t go to the police that often otherwise the police wouldn’t have bothered going to the old man’s house. I think the neighbour is a sort of friend to the old man because why are they both isolated from the community which therefore states there must be some form of communication between the neighbour and the old man.
Sparknotes, 2013, poesshortstories, www.sparknotes.com/lit/poesstories/section6.rhtml2noredirection=true , accessed 12/1/14
Shmoop, 2014, shmoopuniversity, www.shmoop.com/tell-tale-heart/characters.html , accessed 12/1/14

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