Madness, Poe, and "The Tell-Tale Heart"I need help with analyzing the representation of madness in the Tell Tale Heart." Are there any direct correlation to the author's mental state?
Poe's representation of madness in "The Tell-Tale Heart" has several components. First, though the narrator is obsessive, he remains coherent and articulate. He can always name what's going on. Second, his madness comes with heightened senses and, to a lesser degree, a distortion of time. Third, his madness allows his emotions to overcome him. He acts on his fixation even though it is commonly not moral. (He kills.) Fourth, there is a strong element of denial in this madness, as well as lack of self-knowledge. In other words, he's mad but claims he is not.
I think post 2 makes several excellent suggestions that merit worthy attention. Key to this of course is Poe's presentation of the narrator in this tale as an 'unreliable narrator' who is not able to view himself, his motivations and his actions clearly. It is part of Poe's genius that he is able to inhabit such a character so fully that we are left having to read between the lines to work out what is actually going on.