What is the significance of the "eye" in Tell Tale Heart

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I waant to know what is the significance of the "eye" in "Tell tale Heart." In general i am looking to find whats its importance? how does it create suspense and terror? how and why does it motivate the narrator? Basically anything about the eye in this story in general, i need a critique on it!

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2001


Beware of trying to explain too much in stories meant to have mainly apowerful effect. That said perhaps the simplest starting point is the past understanding of "lunacy" that was thought to be heightened by the full moon. The old man's dead eye, cataracts, blind, lunar in its way in the dark of the room and dark that terrifies the narrator is easy to explain un its fixation. The Evil Eye becomes the threat, the focus, the anti-light which draws the mind of the madman. That leads to a different Poe theme on the same track. The celestial lights are often "eyes" or spirits that are beacons of hope in the night. This opposite and sometimes still uneasy fixation is seen in many poems, especially mentioning the moon. The madman crazily kills and buries the light and then is haunted by sound! Sight and sound are also interwoven in strong fashion in his poetry.

Stillness, silence, suspension within an intolerable trance are finally disturbed by a sound or movement or a piece of light reflected off the eye. This is just a start if you read carefully the madman's obsession and the centrality of the old man's eye as reason degenrates. Poe's other works on eyes, the moon are further evidence of these primary images of spiritual haunting, contact and obsession.

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2001

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