Edgar allan Poe The tell tale heart

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I have a problem!!! I have a essay questions on this poem ... 1. Examine the theme of time in "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Please eny body??????????????

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2001


Time goes hand in hand with sound for the madman. Unspoken silent fears haunt him "day and night" but especially well up with a groan at the height of the witching hour- midnight. Lack of light, motionlessness and a timeless shadow craeate a fear that becomes fixated on the dead eye. For eight days he creeps in(taking over an hour, he measures every minute and moment) at midnight working himself into the paroxysm of fear with a spidery beam trying to trap sight of the hated. "A watch's minute hand" would be faster than his stealthy movement. To erase fear, control and slow movement. Maintain the suspension of time at the highest pitch of fear and hate, which balancing each other out, might cancel with the extinction of the eye. At dawn he would overpretend friendliness.

Finally, the old man hears him on the ninth night. They remain frozen in position for a hour. his hour has come. Death's shadow precedes his arrival, creating an hour of intense fear. Finally it is the sound of the heart like a watch muffled in cotton that speads up time, like a drumbeat to battle, louder every "minute." He releases the beam and catec=ches the eye and in an instant with a shriek breaking the silence he suffocates him, stilling the heart, gradually reversing the climax into silence- and death. Ever the obsessive, he keeps his hand on the old man's heart many minutes at this still "dead hour of the night." By the time it is over it is 4 AM, still dark as midnight.

The 3 policemen arrive then and he puts on a brave show until the heart beat begins to mark out another countdown spiraling faster into ultimate fear. His agitation and speed causes his heart to increase its noise and frequency until he pulls up the planks to once and for all bring the policemen into his world of time and fear. With another loud bit of yelling.

Light-noise-time, first little or none of each at the frozen hour of midnight, between night and day, life and death- all orchestrated through obsession and sensory torment into two climaxes of rage, one a murder the other a maddened confession.

This is not the only Poe work to measure moments stretched out to agony in the borderland of night, with eyes as a beacon of light or not. "The Pit and the Pendulum" "The Masque of the Red Death" similarly employ time both as a measure of fear and in intricate planning to escape fear.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ