“The Tell-Tale Heart” was written by Poe in 1843 when he was just 34 years of age, 6 years before his death. This is a very sinister story which reflects the narrators immense emotions towards the mans eye, and drives the narrator to murder him. In the story, Poe describes the eye as “the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. ” (Poe 542-543)Order now
The belief of the “evil eye” goes all the way back to ancient times in Greece and Rome, and still exists today in some parts of India. Defined as “unexplainable sicknesses and misfortunes transmitted by merely looking at another person– usually without intention — by someone who is envious,” the narrator of the story says that “it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. ” Did Poe have knowledge of this extraordinary belief? It is very possible that he could have, although that might put a new twist into the story itself.
Maybe the narrator who is trying to tell us that madness is not the only thing striving him to kill the old man, is telling the truth. He may be killing the old man to get rid of his “evil eye”. (Lucky) (Poe 543) Poe as a young man had an enormous amount of misfortunes, which may have drove him to write about the man with the glass eye. According to Grolier Encyclopedia Online, both Poe’s parents had died before he reached the age of 3, so he was thrown into a foster home where he grew up living an uneventful life not liking his foster parents. As he got older, he went to college and picked up a bad gambling habit, and went far into debt.
His wealthy foster father, John Allan, then refused to pay for his education, and also broke off his engagement with his childhood sweetheart, Sarah. Edgar was a very indelible person, and may have taken his misfortunes too personally, driving him to write soliloquies of hideous drama. There may have been a time in his life where he wanted to or had killed someone, and he decided to write about the incident. The beating heart that the narrator hears in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” could be referring to the guilt that he would have or had placed on himself by murdering a man.