In "The Tell-Tale Heart," what happens when the police arrive?

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mperez-mugg21 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The day after the narrator has killed the old man, the police arrive at his doorstep inquiring about a shriek during the middle of the night. The narrator is convinced that he has nothing to fear because he has thought of and planned for everything. He tells the police that the old man is away in the country, and even offers to show them the old man's room. He is so confident that they will discover nothing that he even invites them to sit and talk in the room. Ultimately, this is where his plan goes off the rails. As he sits talking to the police, he becomes convinced that he can hear the old man's heart beating through the floor. As they talk, it grows louder and louder until he is sure that the police must hear it as well. Finally, he can take it no longer and confesses his crime to the police.