What is the climax in "The Tell-Tale Heart"?

12 Answers

mejwestut's profile pic

mejwestut | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

This is one of my favorite stories!

Here are some helpful hints on finding the climax of ANY story. Author's usually write their plots in a typical format. Here it is: 

1. The exposition (the part of the story where you get the background and details about the setting, characters, potential conflicts, etc.).

2. The narrative hook, (where the author grabs your attention).

3. The rising action (this is where the author creates tension and suspense through conflict).

4. The climax (the turning point of the story).

5. The falling action  (where the READER learns about the main character's reaction to the climax.

6. The denouement/wrap-up (the final tying together of the story).

Look at Step 4, the turning point of the story. I think you'll find the the climax is where the main character can no longer tolerate his guilty conscience. That dreadful heart beating in his head, is actually a manifestation of his guilt. He can no longer stand the sound, so he rips open the floor revealing his crime! 

renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The climax of the story occurs when the narrator can no longer stand the sound of the beating heart, and finally breaks down. He confesses and gives away the hiding place of the body beneath the floorboards.

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kevin0001 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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" The Tell-Tale Heart " is a story about a man who murders another person and does not aware that he feels guilty about it. He narrates the story based on what he thinks an feel. The climax of this story would be when the narrator kills the old man and when he confesses to the police. 

rnone's profile pic

rnone | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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the young man keep com to old man house every night to killer him ,but first they was a friend...

refriedbeans's profile pic

refriedbeans | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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It can be argued when the climax in the story occurs. I believe it is when the narrator kills the old man, because this is the highest point in action in the story, as well as when he cannot turn back... On the other hand, he could have contained his emotions until after the police had left the house, but could no longer stand the beating of the heart, so he decided to become spasmatic, which is also another high action point in the story, and confessed his crime to the officers.

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kmcjm | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

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It could be planning the murder. The madman states "you should have seen me how wisely I proceeeded-with caution-with what foresight-with dissimulation I went to work!". Then goes on to say, "I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him".