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Tell Tale Heart Vs Cask Of Amontillado

In this paper, the writer will briefly discuss two critics’ analyses of two texts written by Edgar Allan Poe. These texts are Tell-Tale Heart and the Cask of Amontillado. The writer will introduce the reader to Poe and provide a brief biography. The writer will then summarize the two critical analyses written by critics of these texts. Finally, the writer will state why it does and does not agree with points that the critics had discussed. Edgar Allen Poe was an American author and poet who was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809. [1] Poe was born to two parents who were both actors.

When he was but three years old, his mother had passed away. Soon after this tragic event, Poe’s father had become an alcoholic and had abandoned his child. Mysteriously, his father was thought to have died shortly after her death. Whether he really abandoned his children, or actually died remains unknown to this very day. [2] Poe’s fiancee would sadly then become engaged to another man, which, obviously, had changed Poe’s life forever. After this happened, he decided that he wanted to join the military and was accepted into West Point.

Although he made admission, it appears that he did not have the right personality fit for the occupation that he was pursuing. However, Poe was indeed brilliant and excelled at his academic work. And so, it can be said that he had the intelligence that he needed to succeed. But those who believe that intelligence is all that is required to be successful seem to be correct. Poe’s personality temperament had caught up to him, which, consequently lead to him shirking his duties. This mistake that he made would then ultimately get him kicked out of the school.

Soon after he was ejected from the school, he had made a decision that would not just change his life, but would make an impact on literature and poetry that would continue even until this day. The decision he made, pursue a career as a full time poet. As a poet he would incorporate many bizarre and even uncomfortable themes into his poetic work. In many cultures then, and to a lesser extent today, an example of this is the taboo of talking about death. Death was one of Poe’s most prominent themes in his stories as well as in his poems.

One of Poe’s greatest successes was “The Raven. ” Poe would write many fascinating and intriguing poems and stories until his death on October 3, 1849. [1] The authors of both analyses have stated that the narrators are both insane and are not reliable. Also stated by them both is that Poe uses this narration as a method to introduce us to the horrible motivations that the two narrators have. It not only helps introduce us to their motivations, but also lets us get to understand their character as well as makes the stories seem more dramatic.

The author also helps us understand the characters’ character by not explicitly stating the cause of their desire for revenge or by telling the reader of a reason that is not even valid. In Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator ironically does the opposite of what he is trying to do while explaining the whole plot of his murder, prove that he was not insane. Poe had the narrator’s lack of mental stability manifest itself in his characters by stating that <<>> In the Cask of Amontillado, the narrator defines revenge as punishment with impunity, which foreshadows what will happen to Montresor.

The reader knows that Montresor is insane because of his cold and calculating nature, without remorse, which perfectly fits the definition of a sociopath. The irony of Montresor’s conversation to Fortunato during that walk leaves Fortunato stunned and so shocked that he does not even try to fight Montresor while he chains him up to the wall. I have to agree with the analyses that the narrators are both insane. I believe clear evidence was written by Poe in respect to the attitude the narrator had in Tell-Tale Heart.

The narrator seems to have no problem murdering a man over his “Evil-eye” and rationalize it to the point of having no remorse. Furthermore, he ends up hearing the heartbeat of the man that he had murdered in the presence of the police. He exacerbates the belief that he is insane by believing that he is normal. It is, however, true that many sane people could seek revenge to the point of killing someone like we’ve seen in the Cask of Amontillado. The critic of Tell-Tale Heart believes that the narrator was motivated by paranoia.

Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. ” The writer believes that the narrator felt threatened and discomforted by feeling the old man’s eye upon him. Consequently, I believe that his insanity as well as this fear had likely motivated him to kill the old man. I believe that the critic of Cask of Amontillado was also correct when he believes that the narrator is not reliable.

There is clear evidence that the narrator is insane which can easily been seen if you take into account the symptoms of psychopathy or narcissism, which should be manifest regardless of modern mental health practice. Some of the most pronounced symptoms that can be observed are his emotionless and rationalizing nature. I also believe that more than just psychopathic tendencies drive him. I believe he also shares common ground with a narcissist due to his need for revenge based on little reason. In short, the planned and executed outcome of his revenge seems to be too cold and remorseless for him to be considered psychologically normal.

In short, I believe that there is firm evidence that he fits the diagnoses of both Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is commonly known as psychopathy, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator also seems to lack the connection with his victim while he is killing him. “You should have seen how wisely I proceeded –with what caution –with what foresight –with what dissimulation I went to work! ” Considering this, my thoughts have lead me to strongly believing that Montresor and the narrator of Tell-Tale heart are definitely insane and highly unreliable.

What I believe, as a genius strategy on Poe’s part, is that not only the lack of reliability on the narrator’s end helps us to understand the character’s motivations, but also helps us to see interesting aspects of their character, aspects that would be seen be almost no other writer. Poe used one of the most captivating subjects before it was even discovered in his poems, psychopathology. Poe’s use of mental illness was not only brilliant, but it also adds a hint of psychological horror to the theme as well as the suspense that seems to grow throughout these two texts.

For example, it is very disturbing when the narrator of Tell-Tale Heart states that he is normal and describes the murder of the old man without any hesitation or signs of guilt or remorse, which as discussed earlier with Montresor, is more than a sure sign of psychopathy. Furthermore, the narrator being disturbed by the thought of hearing a beating heart rather than killing the man helps us understand how crazy the narrator really is, which is very ironic itself because the whole point of the story was that the narrator was trying to convince the audience that he was actually mentally stable.

Poe also makes excellent use of foreshadowing. Montresor discusses punishing without impunity and opens up his story while talking about revenge. “I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. ” Montresor stating this statement tells the reader that he is up to no good. Although being lead into the catacombs by Montresor was not a smart move by Fortunato, it was definitely a sign that Montresor didn’t have good intentions; especially being that the crypts are where dead people already lie, which is also ironic.

In Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator says, “The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. ” When the narrator had said that, I believe he was referring to his adrenaline, which would obviously be released during an attempt to kill someone. Finally, I agree with the critic who believed that Fortunato was too shocked to be able to actually understand the situation and react to his chaining on to the wall.

Although Fortunato may have been impaired to some extent by alcohol, it is obvious that he understood very well the crime that Montresor was doing unto him. “Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. ” In conclusion, the writer discussed Edgar Allan Poe’s life. The writer also summarized the analyses written by two critics. The writer’s interpretations would diverge from the critics but always arrive at the same conclusion.

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