The Tell-Tale Heart
3 Installments—Entirely free
The anonymous narrator of Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 story, The Tell-Tale Heart, is suffering from a strange disease. His illness makes him hyper-sensitive to everything around him. Sights and sounds that other people might hardly notice can send this particular man spiraling into anguish and anxiety. The narrator lives with an old man who happens to have a clouded bluish eye, an abnormality that fascinates and disturbs the other man. Obsessed with his neighbor’s eye, the narrator decides that its odd appearance must signify some kind of evil. He resolves to kill the elderly man and dispose of his body in a gruesome fashion, assuming that no one will suspect him of such a heinous crime. As he soon realizes in horror, however, the innocent victim of this troubled man may never let him forget what he has done.
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Soon after his birth in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) lost both of his parents. The young Poe went to live with a couple from Virginia, where he went to school and eventually to college. Poe only briefly attended university before dropping out to embark on a short-lived stint in the military. While still quite young, Poe published his first book of poems, Tamerlane, and discovered that in writing, he had found direction for his life. Poe began to produce short stories and non-fiction prose for various publications in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Over the years, his work enjoyed increasing popularity. In the 1830s, Poe wrote many of his most famous works, including some of the very first examples of detective fiction, a genre that he is credited with inventing. His gothic tales of murder and mystery, among them The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Masque of the Red Death, thrilled readers in America and Europe. Poe’s poetry was also well received in his lifetime, and he published what is perhaps his most famous poem, The Raven, in 1845. Almost as if it was a strange tale of his own making, Poe’s untimely death continues to be the subject of much speculation to this day. In the middle of the night in October of 1849, Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in a delirious and weakened state. Wearing clothes that did not belong to him and calling out to an unidentified person named “Reynolds,” Poe died in a Baltimore hospital a few days later. Poe’s legend lives on today, with readers all over the world delighting in his enigmatic and haunting tales and devoted fans regularly paying their respects at his gravesite in Baltimore.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. ...Back to top
Reviewed by Alf_ie on Apr 21, 2010
A very morbid and suspenseful story!
The Tell Tale Heart is a beautifully written suspenseful short story by Edgar Allan Poe which follows an unnamed narrator on his murderous quest to kill an old man with a "Vulture eye." I have read this story several times before and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys morbid and suspenseful tales.
Reviewed by jashleyb on Nov 8, 2008
The Tell-Tale Heart one of Edgars best
Reminded me of The Black Cat, it was really good!
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Ratings for 'The Tell-Tale Heart' by Poe, Edgar Allan