From what point of view is Poe's story told? Why is this point of view particularly effective for "The Tell-Tale Heart"? Point to the details in the story that identify its speaker as unreliable. What do we know about the old man in the story? What motivates the narrator to kill him? In spite of all his precautions, the narrator does not commit the perfect crime. What trips him up?

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The point of view used in this story is first-person objective. This means that the narrator is a participant in the story's events and that he is narrating these events after they have already taken place. This perspective is effective because the narrator believes that he is perfectly sane and not mad at all, but readers begin to put together clues to the contrary; his repeated denial of madness heightens the tension of the story and makes it more exciting.

One detail that makes it clear that this narrator is unreliable comes in the very first paragraph. He talks about how good his ability to hear is, saying, "I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell." Anyone who thinks that they can hear everything in heaven and on earth and even some of the things in hell is surely not playing with a full deck. Further, the narrator's motive for killing the old man—who he claims to love!—is the old man's "vulture" eye. There may be some good reasons to kill a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 769 words.)

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