What is the plot diagram of "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The rising action of this story consists of the vast majority of the text.  It includes the narrator's introduction, his account of the old man, his motivation for and intention to kill the old man, as well as all of the repetitive and minute descriptions of how he crept into the old man's room so slowly each night at the same time.  It even includes his murder of the old man and the disposal of the body via dismemberment and burial beneath the floorboards.  The climax (or the apex of Freitag's triangle) is when the police have arrived and the narrator begins to feel terrible anxiety and believes that he hears the old man's heart beating beneath the floor (despite the fact that he's dead).  At this point, either the narrator is having a total nervous breakdown or the old man is somehow, supernaturally, undead (spoiler: it's the former), and it is the moment of greatest tension in the story.  The falling action and the resolution of the story include the narrator admitting to the police that he murdered the old man.

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The Tell-Tale Heart

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