How does the main character plan the crime in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" plans the murder of the old man very carefully, but as is often the case, even the best laid plans can go awry. During the week before the planned murder, the narrator treated the old man better than ever in order to put him at ease. Each evening at midnight, the narrator carefully and quietly opened the old man's bedroom door, and very slowly put his head inside--so slowly that

It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed.

The man was careful that no light shone inside, so the bedroom was completely dark. Just as stealthily, the man allowed a single ray of light to shine from the lantern onto the old man's "evil eye." Each of the first seven nights, the eye was closed, and the narrator refused to commit his evil deed without the eye being opened. But on the eighth night, the man stirred as the narrator slowly worked the knob of the door. When his head was finally inside, the patient narrator's "thumb slipped upon the tin fastening" of the lantern, and the old man awoke. For an hour, the narrator waited silently before allowing a thin ray of light to settle upon the evil eye. This time it was open, and the narrator made his move: Dragging the old man from the bed to the floor, the narrator suffocated him before dismembering the corpse.