The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is Poe's purpose for writing "The Tell-Tale Heart," including the background for the piece?

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As another commenter noted, this story (and essentially all of Poe's work) is Gothic literature, and the Gothic is an off-shoot of Romanticism. Romantics believed that human emotion was far more vital to our experience than reason because it does not have to be taught; we are born knowing how to feel deeply. Logic, on the other hand, has to be learned, and so they felt that logic really distracts us from more compelling experiences like inspiration, creativity, and intense feeling. Much of the literature of this period attempts to provoke such intense emotion as a way to return its readers to a purer, more natural state. Gothic literature, especially, focuses on the experience of horror because, Gothic writers reasoned, there are few emotions more intense than fear.

Poe's story certainly does contain horrible elements and is capable of provoking fear. It is comforting to think that, as long as we don't get on anyone's bad side, as long as we are nice to everyone, we will be safe from...

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