Tell Tale Heart Criminally Insane Essay

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I think that the narrator of A Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe was not criminally insane at the time of the murder and should have received full consequences, being as he was fully aware of what he was doing and he was aware enough of the consequences to hide the body. He was also clear-minded enough to realize that he had done wrong, he had mens rea. Since he had mens rea, without mens rea he would be considered criminally insane, but he did have a mens rea since he had all three signs of mens rea, a guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful purpose and a criminal intent. The guilty mind was clear when he was hallucinating the old man’s beating heart¹, since intense feelings of guilt can and probably will result in hallucinations. He had a guilty…show more content…
Oh! what could I do? I foamed - I raved - I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all, and continually increased. It grew louder - louder - louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? - no, no! They heard! - they suspected! - they knew! - they were making a mockery of my horror! - this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony!” The fact that the policemen did not hear the sounds means that the narrator was hallucinating, but he wasn’t hallucinating because he was criminally insane. Hallucination may be a result of criminal insanity but it is also very easily a result of guilt, which he was clearly feeling along with the hallucination. If the hallucinations were a result of the criminal insanity, he would not be feeling the guilt, but seeing as he was, that means he was aware of the crime and feels the guilt towards the crime and hallucinates as a result of the crime, not as a result of the

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