What is the climax of "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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The climax of a text is often considered to be the moment of maximum intensity or the highest amount of tension; it can also be a kind of turning point in the plot. After the narrator kills the old man, dismembering him and burying his body beneath the floorboards, it seems as though he is going to get away with the murder. The police come to investigate the shriek heard by a neighbor and he convinces them of his innocence with his easy manner that they are "satisfied" he is guiltless. The narrator begins to hear a sound that he believes to be the old man's heart beating, but we know this cannot be possible because the old man is quite dead. It becomes apparent that the sound the narrator hears must be his own heart, pounding hard and fast as a result of his adrenaline. The climax comes near the end of the penultimate paragraph of the story. The narrator's tension is clear, adding to our own when he says:

Oh God! what could I do? I foamed -- I raved -- I swore! [...] but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! [....] I felt that I must scream or die! and now -- again! -- hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

In this moment, just prior to his confession, the story reaches its climax.

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This is one of Poe’s most suspenseful short stories.  Like much of this story, the suspense in the climax is psychological.  The story basically centers on the narrator, who is struggling with insanity.  He kills the old man, his roommate, because of his evil eye.

The climax of the story is not when the narrator kills the old man, cuts him up, and buries him under the floorboards.  Instead, the climax is when the narrator is driven mad by the old man’s still-beating heart, which he can hear in his mind.

The climax of the story is suspenseful because the police come and the start looking around, and the narrator makes small talk and tries to be casual and clever.  He even has the policemen sit in the same room where the body is buried!  Alas, he is driven so mad by the imaginary beating heart that he confesses.

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The climax of a short story is the highest point of intensity and often the turning point for the protagonist's fortune. In "The Tell-Tale Heart," the tension builds to the murder and then shifts to the cover up of events. I would suggest then that it is the murder that is the climax of the story as this seems to be the main turning point for the protagonist.

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