Literary context

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story is considered a gothic horror story. Gothic stories usually rely on ambiguity and enigmatic characters. Furthermore, the setting is dark and gloomy, and the aim is to instil feelings of horror and suspense in the readers. These elements can be encountered in “The Tell-Tale Heart” as the setting of the story is unspecified, the action takes place at night, and the narrator is a mentally ill person.

As with many of Poe's stories, the question of whether the events described are supernatural in nature is left open. Even if the main character believes that he has supernatural hearing and that the old man’s heart continued to beat even after he was dead, it is also possible that he is simply experiencing auditory hallucinations due to his mental illness.



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