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What human emotions are revealed in "The Tell-tale Heart"?

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naytbrat | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:43 AM via web

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What human emotions are revealed in "The Tell-tale Heart"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that some of the key human emotions that are revealed in this disturbing text come from the narrator himself and the fear and loathing he displays of the old man's "vulture eye." The way that it strikes him with such fear clearly indicates how irrational fears can seize us as humans. However, if we want to look further on in the tale, you might want to think about the human emotions that are displayed by the narrator at the end of the story, in particular with the following quote:

I foamed -- I raved -- I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! -- no, no? They heard! -- they suspected! -- they KNEW! -- they were making a mockery of my horror! -- this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! -- and now -- again -- hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! --

The madness and anger that is displayed by this narrator in the way that he can hear the beating of the heart that symbolises his guilt and nobody else can is focused on in this quote. If we examine this quote carefully, we can see that it contains numerous different human emotions, including shame, anger, madness, fear and resentment, to name just a few. This is a short Gothic story that reveals the full range of human emotions focusing on the darker side of what goes on in our selves.

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