The setting of the story is in the home of an old man whose caretaker, the antagonist, also known as the narrator, is anxious and calm about what had happened the night he murdered the old man he cares for. The narrator tries to prove to the readers how he not mad but is just nervous and diseased. He then explains why he killed the old man, which was because of his evil "vulture eye".
The narrator proves his sanity by explaining how wise and cautious he is when he watches the old man sleep. The narrator explains how he was very kind to the old man the whole week before he murdered him. At 12:00 a.m. every night for a week the narrator would watch the old man. The narrator would shine his lantern over the old man to see if his evil "vulture eye" was open. Suspense is created when the narrator would carefully sneak into his room.
*thump* *thump* *thump*
On the 8th night the narrator accidentally wakes the old man when sneaking into his room. The old man and the narrator had one hour stand off after the accident where neither moved a muscle. As the old man tried to comforts himself the narrator thought about how death stalks the old man, which is an example of personification. The narrator opens the lantern enough to see the old mans vulture eye. He then hears a low, dull, quick sound thinking it is the old mans heart beat. As the heart beat gets louder the narrator fears that the sound would be heard by a neighbor.
I swear i'm not crazy
The narrator then gains enough courage from the beat of the heart which symbolizes the drums of war and seeing the old man's vulture eye to kill the old man. He kill the old man by suffocating him with his own mattress at midnight which foreshadows the old man's death since its the dead hour of night.
After the narrator dismembers the old mans corpse in the bath tub he hides the body underneath the floorboards. The police then arrive and ask questions about what was heard by the neighbors in the night. The narrator confidently answers their questions and welcomes the police inside to let them search the house. He then invites the police to sit and rest while the narrator put his own chair right above where the corpse of the old man lays. The narrator then starts to hear the old man's "heart beat" which caused him to yell and move vehemently. As the sound gets louder and louder the narrator eventually can no longer handle it.
The narrator eventually confesses the murder of the old man because the sound of the heart is making him crazy. The heart beat symbolizes an internal conflict which is guilt.