Blindness In The Tell-Tale Heart By Edgar Allan Poe

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In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the old man’s milky, pale blue, vulture-like eye appears to hold a significant role in discovering the protagonist’s true motives and emotions. Throughout the story, the protagonist clearly expresses his hateful feelings regarding the lifeless eye by stating, “Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees-very gradually-I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever” (Poe 312). This statement suggests that the protagonist is not sane or reasonable in his thinking and decision making and therefore does not truly understand that it is not the eye alone that is troubling him, it is instead what the eye represents. Throughout the story of “The…show more content…
This description made by the protagonist, could be proposing and/or hinting that the eye is blind and possibly as a result of cataracts. Cataracts are the most common causes of blindness in older men and women and therefore, in the protagonist’s perspective, the cataracts may represent growing old. If this is in fact the case, the stories protagonist’s unconscious may have evolved to associate the old man’s eye with a reminder of aging and eventually dying. This theory would also explain why the reason the protagonist only felt a motive to cause harm to the old man was when he had a visual on the eye. Once again, it was not the old man himself, in fact the protagonist loves the old man, it was only the eye of the old man that drove the protagonist to kill. In the protagonist’s unconscious mind, destroying the eye will allow for all the unwanted reminders of growing old and dying to disappear. Although the protagonist believes it was simply just the deformed eye alone that causes him to feel so much rage and hate it was instead, what the eye represents and symbolizes to the protagonist’s unconscious mind. Seeing the old man’s eye prompts both conscious and unconscious uncanny feelings and thoughts for the protagonist. These eerie thoughts and feelings eventually drive the protagonist to…show more content…
Becoming a ‘grim reaper’ is the ultimate form of death, deciding who lives and who dies is the ultimate decision and in a way, is God like. For the protagonist, choosing who dies and when they die could be to him, the only way to confront and over power death. It could be that the protagonist truly believes that if he were to take the life of another being, then he would overcome his anxieties around death. It is also possible that the protagonist feels he needs to be the one to cause the death of another in order to rid himself of all his fears and concerns around dying. The murder of the old man is a symbol of the protagonist attempting to repress his fears of death; he is desperate to try to deny death. He is willing to kill the one person he cares for so dearly in order to conquer his anxieties around death. There is a strong possibility that in “The Tell-Tale Heart” the protagonist is driven to insanity by the old man’s dreadful eye; so much so that he believes that if he successfully kills the old man, he will extinguish his concerns and overcome

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