Compare and Contrast Essay on 'The Tell-Tale Heart'

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Edgar Allan Poe was an american writer best known for his short stories of tales and mystery. His father abandoned his family in 1810, his mother died the following year too. He became an orphan then John and Frances Allan.

He attended college at the University of Virginia but he left after a year there due to the lack of money then he joined the army. In 1827 at this time he began his career by publishing with the anonymous collection of Tamerlane and other poems too. Poe soon switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literacy journals and periodicals, becoming known for his style of literary criticism.

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The two were written by Edgar Allan Poe. Both stories share elements of murder and insanity; both have eerie and frightening nighttime scenes. At first glance, though, the protagonists of both stories seem to have very little in common. Their marital status, living conditions, and personal responsibilities are very different.

the two men appear increasingly alike: both share their criminal history in flashback, thus disclosing their motives and confessing to their crimes. More importantly, as both characters recount their tales, they vehemently defend their sanity. Because of these striking similarities, it soon becomes apparent that the two men are much more alike than once believed.

One of the biggest similarities between the two stories is both stories are narrated by an insane character. They are both obsessed with unusual things in The Black Cat and the Tell-Tale Heart. Their obsessive behaviors cause them stress and anxiety to the point of doing, seeing, and hearing unbelievable things.

Another similarity between the two stories is both of the stories have violent narrators. The narrators revert to violence to settle their obsessions. In The Black Cat, the narrator cuts out the cat's eye and later hangs the cat. He also beats his wife. The narrator in the Tell-Tale Heart sneaks into the old man's room every night he later kills the old man and buries his heart under the floorboards of his living room.

Another similarity between the two stories is that in both stories there is an eye that seems to be the cause of the narrator's anxiety. The eyes are the windows to the soul and in both of them, they feel that they are being scrutinized or judged by eyes in the respective stories.

One of the biggest differences between the two stories is in The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat he planned the murder for a long time before he killed the man, stealthily waiting for the right moment to kill the old man, whereas in the other story killed his moment with no forethought, but in a moment of build rage.

Another difference between the two stories is the narrators were found out in different ways. The narrator confesses openly when he is afraid of being found out. In the other story, the police found out not through a confession, but through discovering the body themselves.

Another difference between the two stories is in The Balck Cat the narrator says it is just his way of unburdening his soul before he dies and in The Tell Tale Heart the narrator tells his story in a desperate attempt to prove that he isn't insane.

In 'The Tell-Tale Heart' the narrator is driven to madness, hearing the truth in the heartbeat that he assumes the officials can hear. 'They heard!-they suspected!-they knew!-they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think.' This perverseness overtakes the man and the guilt that he felt, the haunting he experienced, had not end with the murder and removal of the 'eye.'

The truth of who the narrator was could not be escaped. This was also seen in the final words by the narrator in 'The Black Cat'. 'The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman.

I had walled the monster up within the tomb!'Both of the men in the stories tried placing the blame for their evil actions and thoughts onto something else. Once this blame was placed, each man felt he could be rid of the feelings he had by removing what he felt was the cause. Their perverseness drove them to believe that if this thing that blame was laid upon was removed, they would be free. But in reality, they were trying to be free of something that could not be escaped. 

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Compare and Contrast Essay on ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’. (2024, May 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Compare and Contrast Essay on ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’.” Edubirdie, 16 May 2024,
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