The Tell-Tale Heart is a short horror story written by the American author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the magazine, The Pioneer, in 1843 The story follows an unnamed narrator who explains how they murdered an old man due to his "vulture” eye and the sound of his beating heart. The story takes place over seven nights, during which the narrator attempts to prove they are not insane while trying to cover up the crime.
Essay Topic 1: Analyze and discuss the themes of madness and guilt in Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
Essay Topic 2: Assess the narrator's mental state in The Tell-Tale Heart and analyze the events that unfold in light of the possible mental illness.
Essay Topic 3: Explain the motifs of sight and sound in The Tell-Tale Heart and analyze how they are used to demonstrate the narrator's descent into madness.
Essay Topic 4: Describe the relationship between the narrator and the old man in The Tell-Tale Heart and discuss how the relationship is symbolic of the narrator's distorted mental state.
Essay Topic 5: Compare and contrast the different characters in The Tell-Tale Heart and explain how they contribute to the story's overall theme of guilt and insanity.