The story “Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” was written by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe, the story revolves around various themes such as mental health, love, and hate, and self vs. alters ego. However, the main theme out of all the above-mentioned themes is the theme of love and hate. In the story, the leading character Poe effectively portrays the psychological intricacy of both love and hate that are apparently opposite emotions that enigmatically blend into each other.
The story revolves around Poe’s obsession with an old man just because he hates his eyes. According to the narrator “The only thing that scares the man is the old man’s vulture eye, the eye that has a film in it and the eye of one of those terrible birds that watch and wait while an animal dies, and then fall upon the dead body and pull it to pieces to eat it” (Serravalle de Sá & Poe, 1843). Although Poe believes that killing an older man just because of his eyes is unreasonable; however, as the old man eyes scare him, then he must kill him. A week before the killing, Poe reveals that he has an affection for the old man, and since then, he regularly visits the old man's room every night to find the perfect time to kill him. One day he finds the time and kills the man by cutting his body into pieces. When the police arrive for investigation, he hides the truth but eventually admits he is the murderer of the old man.
The terror due to which narrator is not accepting the murder is because of his simultaneous love for his own self and hatred for his opponent. The theme of love and hatred affects the interpretation of story as without theme, story is merely a crime thriller. The story depicts that love and hatred are inseparable and are simply the most passionate form of human emotion. Although initially, the narrator adores himself as soon as the feelings of self-hatred arise in him, he starts projecting the hatred on others. The narrator never accepts his madness; however, his madness can clearly be seen when he tries to separate the person he hates and the person he loves. This delusional separation allows the narrator to stay in denial of the paradox of claiming his love for his victim.
Serravalle de Sá, D., & Poe, E. A. (1843). The tell-tale heart.
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