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

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What is the point of view of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The point of view of this story is first person objective.  This means that the narrator is a participant in the story and uses the first person pronoun "I."  The "objective" portion of the label refers to the timing of the narration.  An objective narrator relates the events after they have concluded, as opposed to a subjective narrator, who relates events as they occur.  You can tell that the narrator is objective because he uses mostly past tense verbs to describe the action (instead of the present tense verbs used by a subjective narrator).

There are times when the narrator does switch into second person.  For example, he says, "You fancy me mad.  Madmen know nothing.  But you should have seen me.  You should have seen how wisely I proceeded [...]."  This narrator has had time to reflect on his experiences, one of the benefits of an objective narrator, and he is trying to influence our perception of events because he realizes what we might think (i.e. that he is crazy).  His use of the second person pronoun "you" indicates this switch.

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emratica eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart" shares the story from his own, personal perspective; thus the story is told in a first-person point of view. By using personal pronouns such as I, me, and my, the narrator is able to tell his tale as only he can experience it. Any other point of view, like omniscient, for example, would give the audience a look into the minds of other characters in the story, not just the narrator's.

The first-person point of view is what makes this story so chilling. At the beginning of the story, the narrator asserts that he is not "mad" but instead completely sane. As the story progresses, the reader comes to realize that he is truly insane and is therefore an unreliable narrator: his words cannot be trusted. The demented views of this narrator give the audience a disturbing look into the mind of a seriously sadistic person, and adds to the author's overall haunting tone.

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weddanever | Student

the author uses the first person point of view in describing his character. he uses the pronoun I. he still use second person and third person. second person because he uses the pronoun you and he is as if he is talking to you. third person because he use the pronoun his and he in describing the motions of the old man

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