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“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Analysis. Setting. Setting = time and place of a work of literature Time?
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Setting • Setting = time and place of a work of literature • Time? • We do not know exactly when the actions take place (in a historical context), but we can estimate the timeframe to be over the course of a week with most events happening around midnight. • Place? • It is the home of an old man who is taking care of a property – a landlord of sorts.
Characters and Point of View • Main Characters – an old man with one sightless, pale blue eye and his murderer. • The story is told in first-person from the point of view of the murderer. • What is it about the narrator that contributes to the overall effect of horror in the story?
Analysis of Certain Aspects • Why does the narrator have such a problem with the “evil eye”? • Does it represent the dark side of man and the fear men have of it? • OR…does it have a historical context dating back to ancient times when people believed in the supernatural power of an evil eye? • Because of the presence of the allusions to the ancient world in other works, it is plausible to believe that Poe had some knowledge of this evil eye – but it is merely speculation.
Theme • The Duality of Man • Light vs. Dark, Good vs. Evil – every man has to find a way to balance these out in the hopes that the light/good will be the predominate side in his life. • What is it within each person that causes the suppressed dark side to come to the forefront? • In the story, what causes the narrator to give in the dark side? Is it mental illness? Explain. • How does this illness prove to be the narrator’s downfall?