The Tell-Tale Heart Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Tell-Tale Heart.
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Sanity and Insanity

Poe uses the theme of insanity vs. insanity, and all the nuances in between, in many of his short stories, often charging his insane narrators with the futile task of proving that they are not mad. Often, in stories such as The Tell-Tale Heart and The Imp of the Perverse, though the respective narrators of each claim they are of sound mind and seem completely unremorseful, they are driven to confess by a persistent reminder of their crime. In other tales, such as The Cask of Amontillado, the narrator is unquestionably insane, and yet there is no remorse and no confession, and though his actions are insane, he is very levelheaded when it comes to their execution. Crime is not the only indicator of insanity, however. In Ligeia, the narrator commits no crime that is spoken of, yet there is an air of instability to his...

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This section contains 1,223 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Tell-Tale Heart from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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