- Contrasting Qualities
- Usually of high social rank
- Foreshadowed by something negative
- Driven by passion or strong emotions rather than logic or reason
- Usually secretive or has an air of mystery
- Driven by a ‘need to know’
The protagonist does not actually know where his ‘illness’ or desire to kill actually came from, he approaches this idea in the third paragraph, saying: “It is impossible to say how the idea first entered my head” they do not understand where or how their passion to kill came about in his/her mind. “There was no reason for why it did” the narrator is oblivious as to why their mind has changed. It is clear that the narrator of this story is mentally ill, and there are many aspects of the text that show this. The most obvious is the fact that the character killed a man simply because of a physical feature that he had which upset the protagonist, his eye. Secondly, he/she did nothing to check or second guess their own thoughts, as any sane person would when contemplating killing another person, even though it was only the eye that he/she planned to kill. The constant questioning indicates that the character has an increasingly vulnerable state of mind, they are unsure about themselves and their mental state, even though they state multiple times that they are definitely not ‘mad’. I believe that the protagonist fears his own mind, people tend to fear things that they do not understand, the character that we follow in this story seeks to understand himself/herself and the reasons behind their actions. This demonstrates curiosity, or a ‘need to know’.
He/she does not understand his own state of mind, he demonstrates a general ignorance towards it.
“It is impossible to say how the idea first entered my head” “There was no reason for why it did”
The constant questioning indicates that the character has an increasingly vulnerable state of mind, they are unsure about themselves and their mental state.
I believe that the protagonist fears his own mind, people tend to fear things that they do not understand, the character that we follow in this story seeks to understand himself/herself and the reasons behind their actions. This demonstrates curiosity, or a ‘need to know’.
Because his senses have become so strong, perhaps the intensity of the old man’s blue eye also became stronger for him/her, this led to both fear and curiosity on the narrators behalf
Narrator is afraid to die, that’s why he was so terrified of the old mans ‘vulture’ eye. because vultures are scavengers in nature, he sees the eye as a symbol of death.
We only see the narrator as his/her illness, we do not have the information that we usually get in a normal story
Contrasting qualities seem to co exist, only in moments of external conflict does the element of internal conflict arise.
2 Foreshadowed by something negative – strong theme of death “I heard sounds from heaven and sounds from hell’ Has a foot in both sides of the afterlife, but does not want to. Protagonist fears death. Eye is seen to be vulture like (scavenger) therefore they fear it. Has a need to ‘kill before being killed’ Character is desperate to have an advantage/power over death, they do this by killing.
The most obvious example of foreshadowing in ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ is in the very first paragraph of the story, where the narrator illustrates how his senses have become strengthened by his/her illness; “– the illness only made my mind, my feelings, my senses stronger, more powerful. My sense of hearing especially became more powerful.” This is an indication that the protagonists sense of hearing will be a critical element in the story as it progresses.
As the narrator readies them-self to kill the vulture eye, he/she says: “Have I not told you that my hearing became unusually strong?” this is a reference to the previous quote. The character now hears the beating of the old man’s heart, and it grows louder and faster as he/she waits in the darkness. The protagonist’s hearing is questionable seeing as the sound of a beating human heart could not be heard by another from across a room, the narrator would never have been able to hear the old man’s heart. The heartbeat sound I believe is the characters own, the adrenaline/ excitement that would have come from the moment would have raised his/her own heart rate to the point where it could actually be felt and heard. This is likely because the narrator hears the heartbeat again after the old man has been killed, and it gets worse once the police arrive to investigate, the protagonist began to panic, and this is what drove him to confess what had happened.
3 Driven by passion/strong emotions –
The narrator throws all logic out of the window in this story, replacing it with fear. Fear of the eye and what it represented to the character, a ‘vulture’. Vultures are scavengers, they feed off of the dead and the dying, the weak, and the sick. The protagonist saw the old mans eye as if it was an eye of this animal, this leads me to believe that the character in this story fears death, and fears his/her own weaknesses, they are desperate to be strong, to have power over his/her self, they seek to eliminate the thing that feeds off of this fear of death, and the thing that could possibly end them.
4 Generally secretive, has an air of mystery – We only see the narrator as his/her illness, we do not have the information that we usually get in a normal story…