When he mentions he considers the murder for seven long nights, the readers understand that he let the thought of the eye haunt him, because he was very anxious to obtain the eye. He masters precise form, but he unwittingly lays out a tale of murder that betrays the madness he wants to deny. The narrator says he knows what this is like. However, even though his madness drove him to murder the old man, it also leads him to give himself away. Which heart was the author referring to? Nevertheless, he imagines the whole time that he has correctly and rationally interpreted all the events of the story, suggesting that in Poe's mind, the key to irrationality is the belief in one's rationality. Soon after he was finished, the police came knocking in response to a neighbor's report of hearing a shriek come from the house.
On the eight night when the narrator returns to the old mans room, the narrator can feel that it was time to make his attack. When the police arrive, the narrator invites them to sit right above the dead body. We all know that in moments of stress and fright our own heartbeat increases so rapidly that we feel every beat. Oh you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! The conciseness of the story and its intensity and economy all contribute to the total impact and the overall unity of effect. The old man was dead. How ironic, the same craze that led him to kill the man is the same craze that led him to his demise. The story is full of suspense and horror as it is about murder.
At length, the narrator decides to slowly open the lantern until the light shines on the old man's eye, which is wide open. The strange thing about this rivalry between the narrator and the old man is that it is not really hateful. One can imagine a police detective doing a double-take in the interview room. In a cheerful mood, the narrator answers the door only to find three policemen who have come to investigate because a neighbor heard the old man's shriek and alerted the police to the possibility of foul play. However, the unsuspecting behavior of the policemen suggests that the narrator has become essentially unaware of his behavior and his surroundings.
The eighth night is particularly exhilarating to the narrator. The odd thing is that the problem has nothing to do with old man, how he acts, or even his attitude towards the narrator. Accordingly, the thematic focus of the story is on the narrator's madness and extreme paranoia, demonstrated by his overly cautious behavior, hearing the dead man's still-beating heart, and belief that the police have manufactured the sound to mock him. The killer tried his best to hide the killing of the man but his heart, his own heart resounded as if it were the heart of the old man. The narrator is comfortable until he starts to hear a low thumping sound.
How, then, am I mad? This Edgar Allan Poe story appears to be a bragging confession of a man who has committed a crime. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. For example, he killed the old man for his eye. A Virginia gentleman and the son of itinerant actors, the heir to great fortune and a disinherited outcast, a university man who had failed to graduate, a soldier brought out of the army, a husband with an unapproachable child-bride, a brilliant editor and low salaried hack, a world renowned but impoverish author, a temperate man and uncontrollable alcoholic, a materialist who yearned for a final union with God. The narrator claims that he was so afraid of the eye, which reminds him of a vulture's, that he decided to kill the man so he would no longer have to see it. He marvels at how the old man knows nothing of his plan. He had never given me insult.
Finally, the narrator's paranoia gets the best of him, and he confesses to the murder. Yet although he produced a relatively small volume of work, he virtually invented the horror and detective genres and his literary legacy endures to this day. Summary Even though this is one of Poe's shortest stories, it is nevertheless a profound and, at times, ambiguous investigation of a man's paranoia. The narrator cuts the body into multiple pieces and hides them under the floorboards. When the narrator arrives late on the eighth night, though, the old man wakes up and cries out. He is a calculated killer because he takes wise precautions, and has valid reasons to support his actions. The narrator seems to have a lot of sympathy for the old man.
This post is part of the series: Short Story Study Guides. Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. Here, as in most of Poe's stories, the action proper of the story takes place within a closed surrounding — that is, the murder of the old man is within the confines of his small bedroom with the shutters closed and in complete darkness. He recognized it as the beating heart of the old man. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and told them to tear up the floorboards to find the dead body.
The killer could not control his emotional breakdown and because he was up with a strong conscience which forced him to admit his act of murdering the old man. I heard many things in hell. The narrator freezes, but even after an hour, the old man does not return to sleep because he feels afraid and senses someone's presence. Perhaps even more paranoid, though, is the narrator's notion that the police have somehow set this up to mock him and to prove his guilt. Edgar Allan Poe, whose personal torment so powerfully informed his visionary prose and poetry, is a towering figure in the history of American literature. He grew agitated and spoke with a heightened voice.
At the end of the story, if there really were a beating heart up under the floor boards, then the police would have heard it. Very carefully, he dismembered the body in a tub to collect the blood, then buried the pieces under the floorboards. When he did, he saw the old man was still awake as the lantern's light immediately trained on the open 'vulture eye. His over-sensitivity becomes in this story the ultimate cause of his obsession with the old man's eye, which in turn causes him to murder the old man. Later, when he finally succeeds in killing the victim, he becomes positively cheerful, feeling that he has accomplished his goal cleverly and with the rationality that he associates with sanity. Poe explores here a psychological mystery—that people sometimes harm those whom they love or need in their lives.
The narrator calmly invited the policemen inside and encouraged them to search the place. He found it open, wide open. He had never wronged me. He laughs somewhat hysterically as he describes how the tub caught all the blood, leaving no stains on the floor. The Heart — Traditionally the heart symbolizes the emotional center of the individual. Then, he dismembered his body and disposed it of under the planks.