What does the "heart beat" motif mean?

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I wonder why Poe ofen mentions in his stories the beat of hearts (Tell-Tale Heart, Pit and Pendulum). Does anyone know what that motif means? Does he just use is to create suspense or is it a metaphor for something?

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2002


Poe himself had heart problems, at least late in life, possibly an effect of overdrinking. A fragment survives commemorating one such attack. Otherwise it betrays the hypersensitivity to sound and manic obsession with small details and one's emotional state. Time, guilt, the mistaking one's own heart for that of another. The excruciating or shocking misperception of things is a common romantic climactic element.

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2002

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