Obsession in “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe

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If your like the rest of us humans, you must have felt so guilty about a situation that you had to divulge about what you did. Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and poet, illustrates in his story The Tell-Tale Heart, how an obsession can drive you to do things that you will only regret in the long run. He then portrays how one’s guilt can ultimately lead to a lack of consciousness therefore pressuring them into confession.

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Poe shows us that there are many themes throughout his story, but he focuses on three particular ones that can reveal his message: the idea of burial/covering, guilt/consciousness, and obsessions.

The first and foremost theme that Poe illustrates in his story is this idea of obsession. As we all know, an obsession is a thought that preoccupies or intrudes a person’s mind and controls it. In the story, the narrator; a man who lives in the same apartment as the old man, shows his obsession with the old man’s eye by comparing the eye to the eye of a vulture the ones that prey on dead animals and eat it (Poe 41). He explains what he thinks of the eye, and how it makes him feel. He felt as though the eye was evil and that he needed to get rid of it. In his mind, he compares the eye of the old man to the eye of a vulture because he feels like the eye can see through his illness and see inside his conscious. It’s almost as if he’s giving an excuse to kill the old man because of his eye just to cover up his own guilt or identity (his true self). The narrator reveals his obsession with the eye by stating Only that eye, that hard blue eye, and the blood in my body became like ice: he’s so focused and obsessed with how the eye looks, that he doesn’t try making sense of the real reason he wants to kill the old man (Poe 41). His obsession is so clear and taking over his conscious that everytime he thinks of the eye or sees it, his body has a reaction.

Along with the theme of obsession,

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