Please name some of the Romantic elements of "The Tell-Tale Heart," according to the school of Dark Romanticism.

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jameadows's profile pic

jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"The Tell-Tale Heart" includes several elements of Dark Romanticism. For example, the narrator is irrational, which is a hallmark of this type of Romantic literature. He is driven mad by the old man's eye, and he decides to kill the man for this reason. Later, when the police seem to have cleared the narrator of the death of the old man, the narrator hears the beating of the man's heart and confesses to the crime. He hears things that don't exist, marking him as insane, another element of Dark Romanticism.

The tale also includes elements of the grotesque, a hallmark of this genre. For example, the narrator is driven insane by the old man's eye, which the narrator describes in the following way: "He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it." The man's eye is grotesque, as is the narrator's method of dismembering his victim's body by chopping off the old man's arms and legs before burying him beneath the floorboards. Grotesquerie is a common element of Dark Romantic literature.

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sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Romanticism is movement in literature that celebrates the expression of emotion and internal conflict.  It sought to idealize the human spirit and the human soul.  Dark Romanticism, like it sounds, focused on the darker side of that human spirit, and often dealt with emotions like grief and depression.  It also dealt with mental instability.

In this story, the mental instability of the character is clear.  He has no purpose for killing his master, except that the master's eye particularly bothers him.  The narration of the story provides readers with an in-depth examination of the narrator's emotions and his murderous thoughts.  The careful description allows readers to probe into the elements of human nature that lead someone to commit murder.  Also, the pounding of the heart that the narrator hears depicts the effects of the negative emotion of grief on an individual.  The first person point of view strengthens the character analysis and better portrays these emotions.

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