The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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What happens at the end of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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Ellen O'Keefe, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Earlier in the story, the narrator killed an old man and hid his body under the floorboards. The narrator repeatedly tells the reader that he is not "mad," and then describes actions that make him seem quite unstable. For example, when he hides the body, he says,

If you still think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

He goes on to describe how he removed the floorboards and placed the pieces of the body beneath them. Though he claims to be totally sane, the narrator's description makes him seem like a cold-blooded killer. His precision in the act of burying the body and his lack of awareness of his own mental state suggest the narrator is a dangerous murderer. However, he continues to brag to the reader about how clever he...

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What is the resolution of the tell-tale heart story