How is tension built in "The Tell-Tale Heart" using P.Q.A. (point, quote, analyse)?looking at techniques e.g. gothic symbols, repetition, etc.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Poe describes one of his techniques as "arabesque."  Like the Arabic word, ornamentation through the use of looping is accomplished, with Poe employing syntax for his looping.  One work in which arabesque is used is "The Raven."  With each stanza Poe embellishes the syntax before the word "nevermore" is repeated.

In "The Tell-Tale Heart" Poe makes use of this arabesque in a terrifying crescendo of syntax.  First, the narrator himself declares that he is "nervous--very nervous, dreadfully nervous."  Ornamenting this terrifying declaration, Poe has his narrator seek to show his control:  "Would a madman have been so wise?"  "I felt the extent of my own powers--of my sagacity..."Later, the narrator grows "furious," but he "kept still."  The ornamental looping of syntax is making a turn: The narrator justifies his actions since he takes "precautions."  However, when he finishes his horrible deed, the narrator grows "very pale" (the italics indicate intensity) and his voice and gestures reach a crescendo, a heightened fever of nerves until he exclaims," Oh, God! What could I do?  I foamed--I raved--I swore!"  Shrieking in his full return to madness, the narrator reveals his crime.

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