The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are the main gothic elements in Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are lots of Gothic elements in "The Tell-Tale Heart." Firstly, one of the characteristics of a Gothic story is the threat of some terrifying event which is used by the writer to add tension and create suspense. In this case, the terrifying event is the murder of the old man.

Secondly, Gothic stories often contain some supernatural elements. In "The Tell-Tale Heart," this is shown through the "Evil eye" which the narrator believes is deliberately taunting him. The desire to rid himself of this "Evil eye" becomes the narrator's motive for the old man's murder. In addition, the sound of the beating heart is another supernatural element in the story.

Finally, the setting of the story has Gothic characteristics. The old man's bedroom, for instance, is described as being "black as pitch" when the narrator visits it. The darkness of this room creates an eerie atmosphere which is characteristic of a Gothic story.

For more Gothic elements, see the first reference link provided.

 

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