Subject The Tell-Tale Heart
Posted by Victoria
Posted on Sat Jan 6 18:27:26 2001
From IP  

The most symbolic image in ¡§The Tell-Tale heart¡¨ would be the Evil eye of the old man. However, the belief in the evil eye could date back to the ancient times, and even today, is fairly common in India and the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The belief centers around the idea that those who possess the evil eye have the power to harm people or their possessions by merely looking at them. Whenever this belief exists, it is common to assign the evil eye as the cause of unexplainable illnesses and misfortunes of any kind.
  Nevertheless, instead of believing that kind of saying, I think that the reason why the narrator wants to kill the old man is owing to the Oedipus complex. There is a simultaneous attraction and repulsion existed at the same time. It is because the narrator identifies with the old man as a father or the authority figure but also wants to attack the latter that would cause the murder. The narrator wants to kill the old man with his eyes open to the light to show his fear. The narrator wants to fight with the power figure as the father. However, he or she still both loves and hates the figure which is represented as the authority.
  Moreover, in ¡§The Tell-Tale Heart¡¨, in addition to the old man¡¦s evil eye, I also view the pitch ¡Vblack room as one of the images that are open to the psychoanalytic reading. The room might represent the narrator¡¦s unconscious and the old man¡¦s blind eye, a sign of castration by which the narrator is repulsed by. The narrator fears castration, so he wants to kill the old man who represents his fear or a castrated man. The narrator views the old man¡¦s ugly eye as the phallus or even the sublimation of phallus.
  But, what makes me think the most interesting and ambiguous is not the reason why the narrator wants to kill the old man. I not only feel doubted about the real gender of the narrator but also the reason why the narrator also seems to take great pleasure in his slow entrance into the old man¡¦s room. I am really attracted by the slow process the murderer practices. The narrator did that at the 8th day but then he or she has practiced that for seven days. Although the narrator did succeed in doing so, he or she finally told the police that the truth and who the murderer is in the end of the short story. Thus, this makes me to think more about what makes the narrator confess. The only reason that I guess for the question might due to her heart of feeling guilty that he or she just can¡¦t stand the sounds of the heartbeats form his or her own heart.

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