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

The Tell-Tale Heart book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

The narrator's tone in "The Tell-Tale Heart" can be described as agitated, defensive, and manic. Throughout the story, the unreliable narrator comes across as neurotic and mentally unstable when he speaks in staccato sentences, uses numerous exclamation points, and continually defends his sanity. The narrator's anxious, irritable tone undermines his argument that he is a sane, rational person.

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,075 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Poe's celebrated short story "The Tell-Tale Heart ," the unnamed narrator attempts to convince the audience of his sanity as he elaborates on his brutal crime. In the first paragraph of the story, the narrator comes across as manic when he shouts, repeats himself several times, speaks in fragmented sentences, and attempts to describe his supernatural sense of hearing. The narrator is also determined to prove his sanity, which contributes to his defensive, agitated tone. He believes that his audience is doubting him, and he is determined to prove them wrong. The narrator ends the first paragraph...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1,139 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,138 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write892 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial