Use Of Situational Irony In Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart

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What could drive an individual to want to kill another person? Perhaps one would kill to gain a sense of vengeance, maybe to gain money, or possibly with absolutely no motive at all, just because they are completely mad. The narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe can easily be described as the last of the three. In "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe uses dramatic and situational irony to depict the narrator going mad. To begin with, Edgar Allen Poe uses dramatic irony. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator starts out by describing a disease of nervousness that he has but claims that he is not mad, he claims to be perfectly sane. He insists that this disease of nervousness has sharpened not dulled his senses (Poe 767). As the story continues,…show more content…
There are a lot of instances when what someone is expected to do is exactly the opposite of what happens in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. For example, the narrator states that he is sane. It is expected of a sane person not to harm others, yet the next thing he describes is the murder of the old man. This shows that he is not really of a sound mind. The narrator also claims that he loves the old man, the irony in this is clear because if someone loves another person it is not expected that they will plot to murder them (Poe 767). Another case of situational irony that Poe depicts is on the night when the narrator startles the old man and then opens the lantern after an hour of just standing there without moving a muscle. The narrator sees the cloudy, pale blue eye that has haunted him staring at him. The action itself of just standing still for an hour already shows that the narrator is pretty crazy, but Poe uses irony to further show this. On previous nights, he does not see the eye and it seems as if he seems saddened by this. So, it is ironic that now that he sees the eye he is not happy even in a disturbing way so he could complete the act of killing the old man, but the eye just angers him (Poe 768). The most significant of all the situational ironies which Poe uses to really show that the narrator is truly mad is at the end of the story when the police officers show up at the door because of the old man’s scream having been heard by the neighbors. The narrator is very calm with them at first and gladly shows them around the home and even sets out chairs to talk to them. It truly seems as if the narrator had committed the perfect crime and is going to get away with murder until he thinks he hears the old man’s heart beating. Poe shows his descent into total madness as he shrieks “Villians! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! – tear up the planks – here, here! – it is the

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