URGENT!!: What was the purpose of the killing in The tell tale heart?? And why was he obsessed with the eye????

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I need to know whay the character in the Tell Tale Heart was so obsessed with the old mans eye, and what else he was obsessed with. A;so, what was his reason/motive for killing? Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2000


I'm a student of English Translation at the Allameh Tabatabaii University in Iran. After reading and studying about Poe's Works especially the short story "tell tale Heart" I have found a new idea about the eye and the heart. In Persian literature we consider the eye as a kind of window or opening (hole or path) to the heart.The eyes tell what is going on in the heart.The eyes can never lie. If the heart is evil the eyes show it. The eyes cannot hide the secrets of the heart. In this story the heart was the truth of the old mans life the heart told the story of life of the old man. I came to the conclusion that the heart of the old man was evil and that is why his eyes became so ugly. The old man had done something bad in his life, something that stimulated the killer to get rid of the old man. There was a cold relation ship between the old man and the narrator(killer) and this was form the lack of communication the two humans had. So I think the purpose of the killing was a struggle to destroy evil that was in the old man.Maybe some kind of revenge. Of course I can't be sure about revenge because in the story there was not enough background information given,but there was some kind of evil. Keep in mind that the story has kept many things unknown so that the reader uses his or her mind. Poe wanted to create thought in the readers mind. The eye is a symbol of evil. The heart was the narrtor and told the feelings of the killer. I have a lecture on this story next week I have collected some information for that lecture, I hope this information was helpful. Hossein Panahi

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2000

hi~ the reasoning behind the murder is insanity on the part of the narrarator. he liked the guy and all, but he found the eye insulting to his very being. he thought that the eye was penetrating the very being of himself.

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2000

Hi... This maybe too late for you, but I have a theory about the old man's eye. The eyes are considered the "windows of the soul", and they're usually clear; but the old man's eye was clouded, so perhaps the perception became distorted, and the eye acted as a mirror, reflecting the narrator. He simply gets a "bad vibe" from the old man, thinking he (or just his eye) is evil, when it is his own negativity being reflected back at him.

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2000

To add onto Shayna's thought: the old man's eye showed the narrator the evil within himself, and he couldn't deal with it. What's fallen man's natural instinct when confronted with his own demons? He either seeks forgiveness and atonement from God; or he goes nuts and lashes out at the "source" of his problem. Since the killer loved himself more than the old man, he murdered him.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2003

This is my opinion it may be wrong though.He wasn't obsessed with the eye it bothered him and he was tired of looking a it.He killed the old man so he wouldn't have to look at the eye anymore.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2003

To contribute to all the other answers: 'eye' sounds a lot like 'I'.. I believe he saw his own reflection in the old man's eye, but he couldn't stand seeing himself and the bad things he had done. So he killed the 'eye', but also the 'I'..

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2004

In the name of Him, it does not make any diffrent to tell you who i am. but i think that we , human being always run from the truth because of our shortage of capacity. since of this reason we shout at evey one who will tell us that "you have not become bautifull today ", any how. in this story, the old man's eye trying to tell the truth , you know . all during the story we will see that he is some thing like a dead person who is just alive to tell some thing like the Truth . beacuse of this reason the young man, who is always running away from the truth , can not endure this matter and tries to hide it. so the kill happens... the young man kill the old one since he thinks that by killing him he would be able to hide the truth . despite the facts that truth will go on untile the end!! when he kills the old man Truth( old man's eye ) travel to his soul. i believe that there is not an specified place for truth. it can be place every where , heart , eye, foot, and so many other places . in the old man 's body God's has placed it in his eyes. but in the young one it travels to his heart . so when the polices came to his home it started to bill . not from the eye , but from the heart , finally the truth reveals itself. i think that to critisis this story as a revenge one would be a foolish idea. any how. hope it would help you . there are so many other reasons which i can explaine you , if you need you can @ me.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2004

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