What are the narrator's descriptions of himself as the story "The Tell-Tale Heart" develops? What are some words and phrases to describe his personality?

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alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

"nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am"

"the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell."

He's clearly insane, justifying his own craziness by the crazy things that he does, which makes no sense.

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svergalla's profile pic

svergalla | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The narrator is our source of emotion in this story.  He grows more and more scared and horrified as he functions like a camera lens to focus us the reader on what is happening.

revolution's profile pic

revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

He say he is very:

  1. nervous
  2. insane
  3. crazy
  4. making no sense
  5. mad
sasou's profile pic

sasou | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

as the story begins with" nervous", he wants to justify his madness by described what he did.

jdellinger's profile pic

jdellinger | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

"but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story."
While he does not directly describe himself as mad, he questions the reader toi describe him as mad. He describes himself as ....wisely I proceeded — with what caution — with what foresight, with what dissimulation
And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?
I have told you that I am nervous: so I am.

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