illustration of a human heart lying on black floorboards

The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe
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Dilemma in The Tell-Tale Heart.

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There could be many different answers to this question. I for one, think that the dilemna is the narrator. He insists he isn't mad, that his disease has harkened his senses. The reader, of course, thinks they know that he is mad by his reasoning for killing the older man. But, do we ever truly know? No, because the narrator tells the story first person, so the reader never truly knows how much of what he is saying is true. Since the story has no outside influences, it is impossible to know that is/has really gone on. Mad or not, the narrator can never truly tell the reader what he/she wants to know, which is the very literary device Poe uses to make this story such a psychological thriller.

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