The Tell-Tale Heart Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart book cover
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Imagery In The Tell Tale Heart

What is the imagery in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

There are numerous examples of imagery within "The Tell-tale Heart." Edgar Allan Poe uses visual and auditory imagery both to create suspense and also to convey its narrator's insanity. This story focuses on visual images, like the old man's cataract, and auditory imagery, like his heartbeat, to create its desired effect.

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Imagery involves an appeal to the senses, and makes description more vivid to a reader's imagination. In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Edgar Allan Poe reconstructs a murder and its aftermath from the perception of its perpetrator, utilizing imagery to create suspense and convey the crazed insanity of its narrator. We see Poe using both visual and auditory imagery to create this effect.

In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe's narrator commits his murder on account of the old man's cataract. The murderer describes it as "the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it." Later, in a more extensive passage, Poe writes:

It was open—wide, wide open—and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness—all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones

By describing the eye in such intensely descriptive terms, Poe conveys the narrator's obsession. He is fixated on this cataract to the point that he will commit murder because of it. This is...

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