The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is the narrator's tone in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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The narrator believes his tone to be persuasive and calm, as he is trying to convince someone that he is not crazy. In the first line, he asks,

True!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them.

He describes how perceptive his senses have become, especially his hearing, saying, "I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?" He believes that this acuteness of his senses is evidence of how healthy he is, and he believes that he can tell his story "calmly." However, the fact that he believes he can hear what's happening in heaven and hell, and even everything on the earth itself, is pretty crazy-sounding, and the sheer number of exclamation points used in the story—forty-three—makes it seem as though "calm" is not exactly the right word to describe his tone!

Instead, the narrator's tone is somewhat aggressive,

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