“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.” – Edgar Allen Poe in, “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Poe’s Tell Tale Heart is about a man trying to vouch for his sanity after killing an old man. The thing Poe does well in this story – in excruciating detail – is give us all-inclusive insight into the psyche of this man. He presents the story in the eyes of logic and, in turn, makes the reader question if a murderer is just a human being with a hyper-rationalized logic process. Something that is intriguing about the quote and how it plays within the story are the quick shifts between first and second person. Poe constantly has the speaker shift between those two speaking points to demonstrate how quick the speaker’s mind is moving.
In drawing this to an outside source there are so many modern texts or films that it can be linked to – whether it be by design or just similar context. I find that to be telling. While many modern thriller genre characters are based off of specific case studies, they often are displayed or written about in a fashion similar to this one. The impact “The Tell Tale Heart,” and most certainly all of Poe’s works, have had on the suspense or thriller genre has been crucial.
Read the story here.