Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven

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Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven
As the father of detective stories, Allan Edgar Poe is well known for his power of
imagination, idealism, and sound judgment which often involves the development of plausible
horror poems and stories from impalpable materials. Two of his most famous mysterious work
that transformed the genre of science fiction and horror stories is the Tell-Tale Heart and The
Raven. In the poem, The Raven, and the Tell-Tale Heart story, Poe uses the mastery of
symbolism, metaphors, and imagery to reveal emotional torment and irrational decisions that
result from social pressure. By comparing the two, it is logical and consistent to conclude that
Poe utilizes similar techniques to illustrate how he perceives life as discussed in this essay.
In Tell-Tale Heart story, the protagonist attempts to justify his sanity although his
thoughts and emotions are impaired to the extent that he has lost contact with the external reality.
His mental distress arises from the clouded vulture-like eyes of the man he resides with.
Although the man has never inflicted harm on him, the narrator views the eyes as evil as they
trigger a motive of the murder. He insists that his precision when committing the murder proves
his sanity. The poem Raven, on the other hand, describes a mysterious Raven that visits the
narrator in the middle of the night as he laments the death of his love, Lenore. The poem begins
by stating, "Once upon a midnight dreary…" (Poe 2). The narrator hears a tapping on the door,
and when he opens the window, a Raven flies in mocking him. The Raven cries out "Nevermore"
when the narrator speaks, and he assumes that it had acquired the comical disposition of a
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desolation master. The narrator developed a feeling that there was an angel in his room and
anticipated the angel would help him overcome the sadness of his loss. When he asks the Raven
if he will ever see his love Lenore, the Raven responds "Nevermore." He becomes frustrated and
orders it to leave, but it declines.
One of the characteristics common to Poe's story and the poem is delusion and emotional
diversity. In the story, the narrator experiences delusion and emotional diversity during and after
the manslaughter. The narrator is consumed by joy as well as panic when planning and carrying
attacking the old man. He states that “I smiled for what I had to fear.” He experiences the joy
when planning the murder and the panic when dissembling the body and during the encounter
with the police. As a result of the panic, the narrator becomes psychotic and feels the dead man's
heartbeat which forces him to confess that he had killed the man. On the other hand, delusion
and emotional diversity in the poem are evident from the narrator's behavior. The emotional
distress that results from Lenore's death develops from his mind. He is taunted by loneliness and
subsequently develops chaotic thoughts. His thoughts and the “sorrow for the lost Lenore”
trigger an insane behavior to the extent that he thinks the tapping on his door is from Lenore. He
then changes his mind and demands, "Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from
off my door!" (Poe 5). The narrators demand shows that he experiences a perverse conflict
whereby he desires to remember as well as forget Lenore’s death (Kopley and Hayes 194). The
conflict results in loss of sanity, and he rapidly changes to a psycho. Thus, the story and the
poem depict the characters’ delusions and emotional diversity that contribute to their insanity.
In both the story and the poem, Poe uses similar literary devices such as symbolism,
imagery, metaphors, and repetition. In each case, he mentions or uses a bird. In Tell-Tale Heart,
the narrator mentions “the eye of a vulture” (Poe 64) while in The Raven, the person tapping on
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the narrator’s door turns out to be a raven. In both cases, the narrators associate the birds with the
forces of the evil. In The Raven, the protagonist is convinced that The Raven is a messenger
from the afterlife or “from the Night's Plutonian shore” (Poe 5). In the story, he associates the
vulture-like eyes of the old man with evil (Poe 65). The mention of a bird in any of the story
brings a direct allusion to Satan. Midnight is also a significant aspect in the two cases. In one
case, the narrator goes to commit the crime at midnight while in the other case, The Raven
appears at midnight. On the other hand, Poe uses repetition in both the poem and the story to
create a thrill. For instance, in Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator repeats “cautiously-cautiously” and
“Die! Die!” (Poe 67). In The Raven, repetition is evident when the narrator says:
“While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor, I muttered, tapping at my chamber door.” (Poe 2).
From the poem and the story, it is evident that Poe uses the mastery of symbolism,
metaphors, and imagery to reveal emotional torment and irrational decisions that result from
social pressure. In the poem The Raven, the social pressure results from the death of the narrator
love while in the story Tell-Tale Heart, the pressure result from the old man. The bird and the
midnight in both cases are significant as they create a thrilling atmosphere.
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Work Cited
Kopley, Richard, and Hayes Kevin. "Two Verse Masterworks." (2002): 191-204. Print.
Poe Allan. “Tell-Tale Heart.” (n.d): 64-67. Print.
Poe Allan. “The Raven.” (n.d): 1-5. Print.

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