The narrator,which serves as the antagonist in the story, is a man who is plotting to murder an old man. He begins by telling us that he is not crazy, he is just nervous. But while trying to prove his sanity, he just further proves he is in fact crazy. The narrator experiences an internal conflict throughout the story.
The narrator, claims that he loves the old man and that he had never wronged him, but it was the old mans vulture eye that provoked him to want to murder the old man. The narrator, was never kinder to the old man than the whole week before he killed him. Every night, at about midnight, for seven days the narrator would open up the old mans door just enough to peak his head through and watch the old man sleep. he would open a lantern and shine a single thin ray of light on the old mans vulture eye. But the eye was always closed so he never had the courage to commit the deed.
Every morning the old man would speak courageously to the old man and ask him how he slept. On the eighth night the narrator was more than usually cautious when opening the door. He was so stealthy in doing so that he chuckled, which startled the old man. The old man sat straight up in bed for an entire hour.The narrator says that death has been stalking the old man, which is a form of personification, describing how death is stalking him. It is also foreshadowing the narrators death. The narrator can now see the evil eye and is growing angrier by the second. He can also hear the ticking sound of what he thinks to be the old mans heart beat. But in reality its his own heartbeat which symbolizes his own anxiety.
The narrator becomes paranoid that neighbors will hear the old mans loud heartbeat. The suspense reaches its highest point when the narrator yells and leaps into the room, the old man shrieks as the narrator drags him to the floor and pulls the heavy mattress on top, suffocating the old man.
The narrator begins to conceal the body by dismembering the corpse in the bathtub to catch the blood. He then hides it all under the floor boards of the bedroom. At around 4 o' clock in the morning after the narrator hears a knock at the door. Three policemen are there do to a complaint by a neighbor who heard a shriek. the narrator feeling lighthearted and overly confident, allows the police to search the home. He even lets the police sit down and take a rest. While the narrator feeling triumphant sits directly above the body. The narrator then begins to feel guilty and wishes the police gone. He begins to hear a loud deafening ringing. The narrator growing pale and paranoid believes the police can hear also hear the ringing which he thinks to be the old man heart beat. He thinks the police are laughing at him and mocking him.
The heartbeat grows louder and louder. Until, the narrator confesses to the police, relieving his guilt.