The narrator changes from speaking in present tense in the first paragraph to past tense for the remainder of the tale. Where do you think the speaker may be in the opening paragraph? With whom is...

The narrator changes from speaking in present tense in the first paragraph to past tense for the remainder of the tale. Where do you think the speaker may be in the opening paragraph? With whom is he talking? What does he imply will be happening to him on the following day?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first paragraph foreshadows the ending of the narrator's tale. To fully understand where he is and what he is doing, readers must read to the end of the story. The second-to-last sentence explains that the narrator's actions have "consigned [him] to the hangman." Thus we know that in the beginning of the story, as he starts writing his narrative, he must be in a jail cell. This is why he says that he will be dying "tomorrow." This word is meant literally, not in the metaphoric sense of "sometime in the future." The man knows that he will be facing the gallows the next day, and so he takes it upon himself to record the actions—which he thinks are a supernatural "phantasm"—that have brought him to this point. As far as who he is writing to, his audience is not anyone in particular but rather a general readership. The man appears throughout the story to have no friends or family; he has murdered his wife, and he seems to have no close associates. Therefore he is writing to the general public in the hopes that "some intellect may be found" who will be able to explain the horrific occurrences that have befallen him.