How does Edgar Allan Poe create a tone of horror and terror in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe is a masterpiece of horror writing. The pacing is a key element to the sensation of horror experienced by the reader. The very first lines suggest that something horrible has happened, but the narrator only gradually reveals the details of the events, building slowly to the final climax.

The first literary technique used to create the tone of horror is the use of an unreliable first-person narrator. Through first-person narration, the author invites the reader to experience the unsettled emotions of the narrator. The narrator's extensive comments on his own state of mind make readers aware that something is not quite right. Although the narrator insists on his sanity, that very insistence, along with his description of himself as nervous and his eerily acute sensitivity to sound, create a sense that the narrator is deranged, and the reader is invited into a descent into madness inside the mind of the narrator. The disintegration of the narrator's...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 1, 2020