Insanity can derive all from the past, and a sole eye. The story of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, tell the tale of a main character, gender unknown with a unique relationship towards an old man. All while trying to prove to us he is as sane as the next guy. While this narrator has no quarrel with the old man, but this old guy has a physical feature that the narrator can not bear to look at. To the brink of stalking him while his sleep and to where he finally is driven overboard and murders the old man.
Thinking he has succeeded and would never get caught, until the cops show up and the idea of guilt continues to pound on him until he finally turns himself in and admits to the deed. Thus, in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe uses the literary theory, biographical theory, to help the reader come to the conclusion that the experiences an author encountered in their past and life time, can influence their writings and works. This conclusion is significant because Poe’s writings contain a dark tone through his use of word choice, he has characters whom tamper and meddle with the subject of death, as well as his characters hold such characteristics of insanity, which all of these claims could be due to his experiences in life.
Through his use of certain word choice and diction, he creates this very uneasy and dark tone in his writing. As when the old man is speaking of himself and his perspective on the old man and his eye, he makes some claims such as, “passion there was none…. It haunted me….
. My blood ran cold.”(Poe 1). These phrases give the reader a perspective of viewing the character curiously and uneasy. The reason he wrote his writings in this way would most likely be due to the hardships and unfortunate childhood he had gone through as a child. And perhaps since he never had a joyous life and childhood, he could not truly understand or intend to have his writing be positively written. Thus do to the grave past, he may have thought it reasonable to make his writing similar as it could have been all he knew. Another example of such dark diction can be found when the narrator begins to hear a thudding heartbeat, while the police happen to be investigating around his house.
Which he states, “I grew very pale… making mockery of my horror” (Poe 3). HIs usage of such words as well could derive from his dark past, which inspires him to create such an awful tone into his writing. More than just a dark and uneasy tone, we can see characters of his work tamper with the idea of death.
Most likely through the influences in his past, Poe evokes the idea of death into the thoughts of his characters. Such as this quote, which is said by the narrator while he is speaking of killing the old man. He states, “I made up my mind ro take the life of the old man”(Poe 1).
This idea of death that Poe presents in his writing, may most likely derive from the part of his early life, such as how his parents died while he was a kid, and how his first wife as well died at an early age. Thus all of the death that has been surrounding and going through Poe’s life most likely could be why he had decided to incorporate it into his writing. Or as when he actually goes through with murdering the old man one night, and so he claims, “The old man was dead. Yes, he was stone, stone dead” (Poe 2). Once again the very mention of death can be seen.
But an important detail to focus on, is how the narrator must have had a close relationship with the old man since they lived together. Such as Poe had with his wife, or one could assume his parents with him, thus why he killed off the old man. To show how he as well had been through the death of a close one. Although death can be seen through the characters, the characteristic of insanity as well may been sought. The insanity of characters may be inferred to be inspired from the sanity of Poe himself.
Such as with the narrator himself, who is trying to prove to us as an audience that he is in fact not insane, making such claims like, “How then am I mad” (Poe 1). The simple fact he is trying to prove his sanity, is ironically dwindled down as he really seems insane. Which could be due to the perspective Poe may have viewed on people. That they were strange and insane, or how he himself had gone through so much in his lifetime, that the idea of insanity flowed into his writing because of how much it would have infected him.
As well when the narrator is in the room with the police officers, and he can hear the sound of a heart beat growing louder and louder, yet the officers can not. He says, “I gasped for breath– yet the officers heard it not” (Poe 3). Showing once more how this narrator is insane for hearing what others can not, we can presume Poe’s inspiration could derive from his traumatic life which drove him insane himself. Thus we know how the insanity the his characters are inspired from the sanity of Poe.
To sum it all up, the experiences an author goes through in their life can influence their writing in a different amount of ways. Such as how Poe’s early childhood and life had been what we assume an inspiration for his work of “The Tell-Tale Heart”. This is all significant because it will allow us to be able to further analyze other works more, thoroughly since you will be able to make assumptions using the background information of the authors.