‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ is a rather quick story by Poe that brings out the terror through repetition of the words spoken by the narrator and of the sound of a beating, beating heart.
If you haven’t read this story or many of his others, Poe strongly writes works of terror, particularly the terror of the mind, which I find fascinating. ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ seems to be one such tale that reflects this idea of someone killing someone they have resided with for so long, and yet the terror is in the idea of just how it plagues a conscience and possibly turns a person mad.
The characters within this tale are nameless and allow us to see into the mind of the narrator. The repetition of particular phrases and of the intensity of this repetition is to drive the madness (or not as the narrator claims) into the mind of the reader. The narrator is also very meticulous and uses this to argue their sanity; which is an interesting perspective in itself, but makes you wonder if by the end of the tale, the narrator really is sane through the experience.
Poe is a classic writer, and his terrors are gothic, psychological and lingering, but you will have to read this in the context it was written in at the time. This point alone makes me wonder if during Poe’s time, if I had been there, how creepy and disturbed would I have felt from such a tale?