The Tell-Tale Heart personalities The main characters in "The Tell-Tale Heart" space the narrator and the old man.

The narrator: the unreliable narrator delivers the story via dramatic monologue in an initiative to prove his own sanity. However, his murderous actions and increasingly erratic speech disclose a distinctive lack of sanity.

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The old man: the old male apparently lives with the narrator and the narrator insurance claims to have loved him. However, the narrator brutally killing him, allegedly due to the fact that he fear the old man"s "evil eye."

last Updated ~ above October 23, 2020, by Editorial. Native Count: 825

The Narrator

It is arguable that the narrator is the only true personality in “The Tell-Tale” heart. The (assuming the personality to it is in male, though we perform not even know this v certainty), informs the reader of the existence of the old man and the three police officers, however he says beside nothing about them. The is so exceptionally unreliable a narrator that he may have invented them, together with the story.


The narrator tells the leader nothing around the outside details the his life, but he does expose his psychology in good detail. The is at risk to atmosphere swings, emotion elation in ~ his own cleverness in one moment and despair in the next. He greets the police policemans with an effusive welcome that deserve to hardly fail come arouse your suspicion, then quickly condemns them as dissembling villains.

The narrator is additionally exquisitely sensitive. The commits murder because that the sake of his aesthetic preferences, deciding the the vision of the old masculine eye is therefore upsetting the it must disappear forever, along with its owner. His sensitivity leads him to know the old male feelings—or at the very least to think he does—though without empathizing or caring about the terror that his victim. As soon as he hears the “groan the mortal terror” emitted through a man who to know he is close to death, the narrator reveals the he has frequently given together a groan himself in the middle of the night, i m sorry is why he recognizes the sound. Since he had no such immediate fears together the old male has, this suggests that that is frequently frightened by his own dreams or thoughts. 

The narrator’s sanity is clearly open to doubt, and whether one should call him mad or not is ultimately a matter of what one understands madness come be. Whatever the reader thinks the his sanity, the has many peculiarities, and the strangeness of his personality is constantly emerging in the details he gives of his actions and also reactions, and how he imagines the leader (or his audience, whoever the is) will respond. As soon as he thrusts his head into the old man’s room, the exclaims “Oh, friend would have actually laughed come see just how cunningly i thrust it in!” This presumes one unusual feeling of humor. The narrator’s usage of the verb “thrust” is likewise unique, since he says that it took him an hour to ar his head within the opening. 

The narrator’s erratic explanation of the i of time emphasize his absence of reliability, as carry out his assumptions about what the reader will find amusing, admirable, or ingenious. Also if his killing of the old male did not speak to his sanity right into question, his self-congratulation ~ above the shrewd of smothering an old man and also hiding his body under the floorboards the the residence where castle both live would not reflect fine on his intelligence. The narrator appears to think he has actually committed the perfect crime, spoiled only by the incriminating heartbeat. His vanity and egotism lead him to watch himself together a criminal genius; however, everything the truth that lies behind his sensational narrative might be, this is not it.

The Old Man

All the leader learns of the old man is that he has actually a pale blue eye, favor that of a vulture, which has actually a disconcerting result on the narrator. Nothing is revealed that his inside life, other than that he is terrified once he hears the narrator coming to killing him in the center of the night, a very natural reaction. The narrator complains of no vice or unkindness top top the part of the old man; he says he loves him yet does not allude to any specific virtue or kindness together a reason for his love.

The old male is barely enough of a character to be dubbed a level character. He has been construed as a prize of science, reason or paternalism. However, his two many suggestive attributes are one eye that will not close and a love that will not protect against beating. These space indicative that a dogged attachment to life, which could be seen as identifying the old guy as the archetypal killing victim, since his main characteristic is a resistance to murder. 

The three Police Officers 

The police officers are not differentiated at all and also are given no dialogue. They are defined as suave and unsuspicious. Even by the requirements of this least reliable that narrators, this seems unlikely to be true. The is the job of the police to be suspicious, and also the narrator’s bizarre behavior—inviting lock in, asking them to find the house, then insisting that they stay and also converse, all occurring at 4:00 a.m.—would be enough to arouse apprehension in anyone. The police policemans are a price of authority and retribution, and also in this unusually easy situation they need only sit and also wait while the murderer delivers himself right into their hands.

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