“True!–nervous–very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heavens and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?”
..Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me.
You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what caution–with what foresight–with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.”
It is impossible to say how the idea of murdering the old man first entered the mind of the narrator. There was no real motive as stated by the narrator: “Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me.
…For his gold I had no desire. I think that it was his eye!”
The narrator states that one of the old man’s eyes was a pale blue color with a film over it, which resembled the eye of a vulture. Just the sight of that eye made the narrator’s blood run cold, and as a result, the eye (and with it the old man) must be destroyed.
Every night at midnight, the narrator went to the old man’s room. Carefully, he turned the latch to the door, and opened it without making a sound. When a sufficient opening had been made, a covered lantern was thrust inside. “I undid the lantern cautiously…
(for the hindges creaked)–I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights…but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye.”
The old man suspected nothing.
During the day, the narrator continued to perform his usual duties, and even dared to ask each morning how the old man had passed the night; however, at midnight, the nightly ritual continued.
Upon the eighth night, the narrator proceeded to the old man’s room as usual; however, on this night, something was different. “Never before that night had I felt the extent of my powers–of my sagacity….
To think that I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back–but no. His room was as black as pitch…
so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door….I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening..
.the old man sprang up in bed, crying out–‘Who’s there?'”
The narrator kept quiet, and did not move for an entire hour. The old man did not lie back down; he was sitting up. Even in that darkness, “I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise…
.His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not.”
“When I had waited a long time, very patiently…
I resolved to open a little–a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it–you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily–until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of a spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.”
The eye was wide open. “I saw it with perfect distinctness–all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones…
.Nothing else of the old man’s face or person could be seen.”
“And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?” For at that moment, the narrator heard the sound such as a watch would make when it is enveloped in cotton. “I knew that sound well too. It was .