The Theme of Madness and of Love and Hate in the Tell Tale Heart

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The Themes of Madness and of Love and Hate in Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” and Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “Tell Tale Heart” and in Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover,” both unnamed narrators commit murder and provide the audience with a seemingly unjustifiable reason as to why they murder their loved ones. In “Tell Tale Heart” and in “Porphyria’s Lover,” both narrators attempt to pose to the audience that they are not insane and effectively accomplish this through their tone and explicit narration. Two of the recurring themes within both Poe’s short story and Browning’s poem are madness and the tension between love and hate. The themes are reinforced through calm tone and passive tone and through the characterization of the narrators. In Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart,” the narrator opens up the short story denying the fact that he is insane and defends his statement by confessing to killing an old man in a very calculated and precise manner with the simple motivation being his fear of the old man’s “eye of a vulture.” The narrator goes through with his plan of murdering the old man and hides the body only to be engulfed by a feeling of guilt which leads him to confessing his act to the police. Throughout the short story, the narrator continues to tell the audience that he is not insane due to his “sharpened … senses” and his “calm” way of telling the whole story, yet it is his tale of murder that contradicts the very claim that he attempts to defend throughout the short story. The narrator’s sharpened senses, particularly his acute hearing, are what lead him to his downfall as he hears his own heartbeat filled with guilt, not the old man’s, at the end of the story displaying that his heartbeat is a manifestation of his guilt. Two of the recurring themes that appear within the “Tell Tale Heart” are madness and the tension between…...

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