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What is the main idea of the "The Tell-Tale Heart?

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vanesab | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:06 AM via web

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What is the main idea of the "The Tell-Tale Heart?

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:57 AM (Answer #1)

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While seemingly a simple story, this Poe classic says a lot about the human mind.  For the most part, the narrator reveals the role that guilt can play.  He kills the old man because his eye bothers him, but the fictitious sound of a dead man's heartbeat is what dooms him.  His guilt is manifest by this heartbeat and leads him to reveal the body and his own crime to the authorities.  Basically, a person cannot escape his own guilty conscience; it will make itself evident somehow.

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