Tell Tale Heart

Tell Tale Heart

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  • Exposition
  • And observe how healthily- how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
  • Rising Action One
  •               Rising Action Two
  • Who's there?!
  • The story begins with the narrator setting a very nervous tone, letting on to believe that he is indeed crazy. He says his sense of hearing was acute, and that overall, his senses were sharpened. He states that he can hear things in heaven and hell, and says he's diseased. This is foreshadowing the coming death of the old man, because we now know what aided him (the narrator) to kill the old man.
  • Climax
  • Good riddance be to the Evil Eye!
  • Although incredibly paranoid, the narrator describes to us in gruesome detail the precautions he took the week before he killed the old man. He lists the steps he took in killing the old man, such as creeping in on him every night while he slept. "And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously" In this line of the story. The narrator explains the caution he took in watching the old man while he slept (which lets us know that he wanted to pull off the perfect crime).  The narrator entering the room on the 8th night builds suspense between scenes as it overlays the main idea of the story: death.
  • Falling Action
  • Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear up the planks! here, here!
  • The old man's room was pitch black, the shutters were closed to keep robbers out of his home. This sets the symbolism of "pitch dark" - that amiss this darkness, the evil eye is still seen, omniscient. He sits up, crying out "Who's there?" which sets off a one hour standoff between the old man and the narrator, as the old man sees nothing in the darkness, not knowing his (ironically) caretaker is standing in the darkness, staring deep into the manic eye. The narrator harshly chuckles at the old mans terror, letting us know who our true antagonist is.
  •                                          Resolution
  • The old man is suffocated under the weight of his mattress, effectively killed by his caretaker. The narrator cuts his body up in the tub and hides his body beneath the floorboards. The old man had believed that the personification of death itself was stalking him. 
  • A shriek in the night is heard by a neighbor, and police show up at the narrator's door. The narrator invites them in, still triumphant that he's gotten away with the perfect crime. He sits right above the body, and begins to have a panic attack, guilt getting the best of him. He thinks he hears the beating of the old man's heart, believing he's still alive. Until it gets so loud that he starts yelling in front of the police. 
  • The narrator confesses to the death of the old man, saying he killed him. The internal conflict he was faced with was his own guilt, his own guilt got the best of him.
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