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The story is about a man who in the first place is thought to be mad because of a heinous act he commits against an old man whom he despises just because he hates the way the old man looks at him. The young man confesses that, "I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever" (Poe 1). He believes that the old man's eyes are evil because they send shivers down his spine when he looks at them. He makes a plan to kill the old man. However, he does not manage to do it but on the eighth day, he gathers courage and kills him.  Some neighbors hear the old man shrieking and notify the police who come to the scene after the killer have left. Unfortunately as fate would have it, he is guilty. His futile attempt at concealing the deed gives him away as he voluntarily hands himself out to the police.


The title of the story is relevant in that it mentions a telling of a tale by a heart. This means that the heart of the young man is tender and because of guilt, he sells himself out and comes out clean. This shows that a tender behavior cannot conceal any bad deeds and that is exactly what happens in the story. An innocent old man is killed for flimsy reasons. At the end of the story, the young man gives up, "dissembles no more! I admit the deed" (Poe 5). Therefore, through the title the writer clearly captures the main message of the story.

The main theme presented story is that of justice. This is shown by a heinous act against an old man. However, it does not go unabated since the police finally catch up with the killer. The old man is innocent and do not deserve to be treated this way. What is meted out on him is in bad taste since the young man confesses in the second paragraph that, "I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire" (Poe 1). Because the police catch up with him, it shows that justice must always prevail in the society. The writer effectively steers this theme. We can also find human relations issues being brought out here as we are supposed to relate well with others and if we wrong them we are bound by guilt. It is out of guilt that the young man surrenders to the police.

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The writer effectively explores several style features. He uses vivid description. He clearly describes about a planned act. "With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room, a pale blue eye with a film over it". He also explains how he used to rehearse the opening of the door and how he was to carry out his plans. He says, "I foamed, I raved, I swerved! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose and continually increased" (Poe 4). He even describes his reaction when he faces the police who were not aware of what he had done but he sells himself out. The writer also uses rhetoric. For example the young man asks "Why will you say that am mad?" (Poe 1). This style makes us to think seriously on what the writer is driving us to. Rhetorical questions are used to stir us into deep thinking of what the writer wants us to focus on.

The characters are well developed and we can see the young man as being so hypocritical that he even tells us, "I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him." This is so deceitful and sly of the young man. He is crafty as this can be seen through his actions. At some point he even confesses by blurting out, "Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly...'' (Poe 2). This conveyance of the characters helps us to clearly trail the story since we get to understand the individuals we are meeting in the story.

In conclusion, the entire story portrays an aspect of morality. What we find in it may finally end up weighing us down. The tone of the story makes the narrator feel guilty of his actions and makes him to reveal what he had hidden. Our own conscience may drive us to an unexpected end.  The many actions points to a narrator who fails to control his inner voice. This eventually leads to his confession on what he had done to an old man who did not have any ill motive towards him. Because of his own personal issues and the fear of his eyes, he ends up killing him. However, he is haunted by invisible forces that lead to his own destruction.  The writer concentrates in bringing out the themes through well developed plots, characters and style.

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