Profile of the Killer in The Tell-Tale Heart

The psychological status quo of a person tends to persuade a person to create good or worse situation for him. The story The Tell-Tale Heart depicts the same situation of an individual stating a psychological aspect in the story. The short story is written by Edgar Allan Poe and was published in 1843. The main theme of the story projects the impact of psychological misbalance on his life. The narrator of the story is in particular the person who tells his story throughout the book that is about the over-acuteness of his sense that turns his life into a blurry and dark vision. Studying the profiles of the killers is a best way to evaluate human psychology and human actions. In this paper we shall discuss the profile of the killer projected in the book The Tell-Tale heart. The paper aims to analyze psychological status-quo of the killer that leads him to affect the lives of other. The characteristics of the profile of the killer will be illustrated in terms of his psychology and theories of psychology.
The killer in the short story does not have a name and had been described as a narrator of the short story who tells his story to the jail official who has arrested the killer. The killer suffers through some of the psychological concept in the story that makes it a captivating and interesting story for the readers not just for the purpose of entertaining suspense thriller source but also as a practical example of some of the most notable psychological terms. The psychotic actions of the killer could be easily analyzed in different aspects of psychological studies including the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud. Here are some of the psychological characteristics of the killer explained in terms of psychology (Poe, 1967).

Paranoia is a psychological concept that elaborates the thinking of an individual that is solely based upon the fact that there could be any element or species that would hurt the individual. Paranoia, in particular denotes delusions suffered through an individual. The most critical stage of paranoia is regarded as schizophrenia. In terms of paranoia, the symbol associated with the murders profile in the short story is the blue-pale eye of the old man from which the killer is afraid and gets distracted. The pale-blue eyes of the old man tend to terrorize the killer (Fenigstein  Vanable, 1992).

The killer has been exposed as a scared person at two events in the short story. Firstly the killer had been shown scared of the pale, blue, vulture-like eyes of the old man and secondly the fear of murdering the old man. The state of being scared and then creating illusions within oneself as a result of danger and extreme case of fear is regarded as paranoia (Fenigstein  Vanable, 1992).

Inability to Prove Actions
As the first word that the readers would be reading is true that is the first word from the killer. The killer tries to explain that he is not mentally ill and therefore he continues to prove himself by giving positive statement that he did not want to kill the old man. The symbol in this characteristic of the killer is his own claim to prove his sanity (Howarth, 1971).

The killer was looking after an old man whose relationship with the killer is not clear in the story. The old man had been projected more like a fatherly figure. The killer taken care of the old man because he thought that on the death of the old man, the killer would be able to get some financial benefit. In the beginning of the story, the killer tells the readers that he did not want the gold of the old man. His intensions of murdering him were not the result of greed for his gold. Such statements of the killer describes that his senses worked properly at the time his sense were not behaving in the over-acuteness manner (Poe, 1967).

The author had set the plot in a more basic level where the conflict had been another predictable stand in the English literature but the story plays an important role in stating a more deep and important aspect of human psychology.

The killer undergoes a situation of conflict that leads him to the loss of control over its intensions and insanity. There was no point in killing the old man as he never did wrong the killer. It was the killer who confirms to the readers that he killed the old man for getting rid of the pale, blue and vulture-like (Poe, 1967).

Over-acuteness of senses
Another important psychological characteristic of the killer is over-acuteness of the senses that provoked the killer to commit the crime of murdering the old man who had never wronged the killer and who had stayed with the killer from quite a long time. The killers inability to differentiate between the existences of the human being and a part of existence of a human, in particular the eye shows that he had lost control over his intensions and actions (Koga  Morant, 2002).

The killer did not want to have any royalty of the old man as he had mentioned that he was never interested in the gold of the old man. It was his over-acuteness of his senses that made the killer loose all his control and act regarding his senses indicated. The body of the killer was badly shivering as explained by the author. Moreover, the killer also had fear in his mind that the old man might get up and will find out what the killer is doing but his senses worked so over-acutely that he could not stop himself from murdering the old man (Poe, 1967).

Attempt of Murder
The killer had killed the old man in a very brutal way that could only be done by a person who has lost his mental balance. The unnamed killer kills the old man by suffocating his prey and cutting off his limbs. The killer had buried the chopped body of the old man in the floorboards. Such an ironic steps taken by the killer for the murder of the old man projects that the killer had severe mental disorder of over-acuteness (Cohen, 2002).

The pale-blue eye of the old man serves as a thing of hatred to the killer and he murdered the old man to get rid of the eye. But later on in the story, the psyche of the killer makes him realize that eye is an evident part of ones identity and it cannot be separated from the existence and body of a human. Attempting a murder for the purpose of acquiring peace of mind is not an indication of a normal psychological attribute of a person. The way the murdered has been conducted by the killer shows an ironic and brutal side of the profile of the killer (Poe, 1967).

In a broader sense, hallucination is a psychological term that explains that perception of human psychology concerning with the absence of the external stimuli involving real perception ability.  Hallucination develops phenomena of illusions and dreams that are misinterpreted by the person suffering through hallucination (Perry  Perry, 1995).

Similarly the same case can be observed in the short story by Edgar Eller Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart. The murderer has been shown to undergo the state of hallucination. After his ironic attempt to kill the old man, the killer suffers through hallucination. In the case of hallucination, the killer percept that the old man is not dead as his heart is still beating. The symbol of the phenomenon of Hallucination used in the short story is the heart beatings.

The killer is unable to get away with the fact that he can actually listen to the heart beats of the old man. Hallucination plays a profound role in the personality of the killer. In the short story the killer tries to prove that he was correct but he is unable to get some success in this case because he is aware of his actions that were carried out in over-acuteness of his senses (Poe, 1967).

Another important psychological term that had been introduced by the author is hallucination. The killer had murdered the old man out of his over-acuteness of his senses. After he killed the man and hidden the body, he started to go through hallucination. According to killers statement, the killer was able to feel and listen to the beats of the old man. The killer had the feelings that the old man is still alive (Poe, 1967).

At one point the readers might be unable to decide, whether the killer is psychologically misbalanced or he had committed a mistake that should be forgiven. Such a confusing point comes in the story when the killer tells his story to the readers that what ever he had done after loosing control on his actions were due to over-acuteness of his senses. But the fact is that it could be easily understood that the killer is a psychopath. If in case he was innocent, then he would not have committed to kill the old man for the purpose of getting rid of the old eye (Poe, 1967).

Through the above analysis of some the psychological characteristics of the killer, it could be said that the author was badly failed from his own existence as his psychological misbalanced led him to loose his control over his actions and intensions. Moreover, the killer did not at any case wanted to kill the old man but he had to finish the man because he suffered through the concept of paranoia as coined by Sigmund Freud. It can also be concluded that the status quo of a person can lead him to different situations. Psychology of a person is responsible for the act of a person in his life. Through the help of all the psychological characteristics of the killers profile including hallucination, over-acuteness of senses, paranoia etc. it would be helpful for us to evaluate psychology of a killer and why such murders are attempted.


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