Presumably being told after the event from some kind of prison or mental asylum, the narrator begins telling the story of the actions that had brought him here, "and observe how healthily-how calmly I can tell you the whole story." In all of this, he tries to prove that he isn't a madman, "very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?"
He states what initially caused these thoughts that ultimately led to the atrocity, the old man's eye, "I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture-a pale blue eye, with film over it." It was the eye that prompted the murder, " I made up my mind to take the life of the old man and thus rid myself of the eye forever."
He begins to explain how every night for a week before the killing, he would visit the old man's house, "And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it-oh, so gently!" Though he visited his house and looked upon the sleeping man, he never got the courage to do the deed, "but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work...for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye."
On the eighth night, peaking into his home, the narrator felt different, "Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers... I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph." It was then when the old man suddenly showed some movement.
"I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in the bed, crying out-'Who's there?'" The man tried to convince himself that it was just the wind or a mouse, but knowing death was near, it was in vain.
As he opened the lantern, a ray of light shown on the old the man's evil eye and fury erupted form the narrator's soul. The heart beat of the man began to get louder out of fear, "And now a new anxiety seized me-the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man's hour had come!... I an instant I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him." Soon, the heart beat stopped and the old man was no more.