What details in "The Tell-Tale Heart" indicate his fears?

The fear of the narrator is communicated most clearly in the final section of "The Tell-Tale Heart," where the narrator hears--or imagines he hears--the beating of his victim's heart from beneath the floorboards where it is hidden. Note how his fear is communicated through repetition and parallelism: Oh God! What could I do? I foamed--I raved--I swore! ... It grew louder--louder--louder! Note how the word "louder" is repeated three times for emphasis, and then parallelism is used in the structure "I foamed--I raved--I swore!"

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The fear of the narrator is communicated most clearly in the final section of this terrifying story, where the narrator hears--or imagines he hears--the beating of his victim's heart from beneath the floorboards where it is hidden. Note how his fear is communicated through repetition and parallelism:

Oh God!...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The fear of the narrator is communicated most clearly in the final section of this terrifying story, where the narrator hears--or imagines he hears--the beating of his victim's heart from beneath the floorboards where it is hidden. Note how his fear is communicated through repetition and parallelism:

Oh God! What could I do? I foamed--I raved--I swore! ... It grew louder--louder--louder!

Note how the word "louder" is repeated three times for emphasis, and then parallelism is used in the structure "I foamed--I raved--I swore!" Such language shows the emotional fear that the narrator experiences as he tries to desperately ignore the sound of the beating heart and communicate normally with the police officers. The language and the style that Poe adopts in this section indicates very clearly the fear that the narrator has of being discovered. 

Another way in which fear is communicated is through the "evil eye" that the narrator believes the old man whom he kills possesses. The narrator's fear is communicated through the emotional reaction the protagonist has when he sees this "evil eye," as the narrator tells the reader that his "blood ran cold." Here, as in the previous example, the fear of the narrator is communicated through the emotional response that the narrator has when he feels fear. In this case, the sensation of his blood "running cold" when he gazes upon the man's eye signifies the terrible fear that he feels, and that drives him to kill the old man, even though he was pleasant and had done nothing wrong to the narrator. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team