The Inevitability of Consequences

The officers had come into the man’s home due to a shriek in the late night reported by a neighbour. Most people would have been nervous or paranoid about this, but what did he have to fear? The old man with the vulture eye was dead, and there was no visible trace of what happened for the officers to find. The man’s manner had convinced the officers that he was innocent, and the officers were content with his alibi.

However, after a while, the man became pale and wished them to be gone, to disappear from the face of the Earth. A headache arose and a faint ringing in his ears had begun. The man, in fear of his condition giving away his crime, attempted to talk more freely to rid the nauseous feeling from his body. The ringing increased in sound, and at last, the man realised that the noise was not being emanated from within his ears, but came from an outside source.

Still, the man talked freely and fluently, perhaps even more than before, albeit with a higher pitch. The sound had changed from a ringing to quiet and dull thumping noise. The speed of his speech increased in sync with the increased volume of the thumping. The man’s behaviour changed in great lengths, with him now pacing the floor and roaring out his opinions of certain arguments. The volume of the thumping continued to increase, and the man stood up from his chair and began to rave and pace around like a madman. The noise filled the room, and the man could feel the vibrations. It was the heart! The heart of the old man! But the man knew it was impossible. The old man was dead. But his evil heart continued to beat, haunting the man even after the old man had died. The officers took no notice of the man’s actions and the booming beat of the dead heart. They even smiled at him. Could they not hear the haunting sound? They were mocking him! Mocking his horror. The man was in agony and could no longer tolerate it. He could no longer bear those hypocritical smiles.

And alas! Despite all his efforts to cover up the death of the old man with the evil eye, the man confessed to his crime, shrieking out while gesturing to the planks containing the dismembered old man, gesturing to the beating of the hideous heart.

This passage is an alternative interpretation of the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. I rewrote the passage from its original first-person point of view to a third person limited point of view, limited to the thoughts of the “madman” who murdered the old man. By writing in the third person limited, the reader is more at a distance compared to what it would be like in the first person. The first-person point of view would have given the things the man said more of an opinionated feeling, as opposed to the third person point of view which gives the phrase as for of a fact. For example, in the short story, Poe writes, “they were making a mockery of my horror!”, while in my rewritten version I wrote “They were mocking him! Mocking his horror.” My version presents the mockery as more of a fact in which they really were mocking him, while the Poe’s original version presents it as more of the opinion of the man. The third person limited point of view also prevents the reader from knowing the real thoughts of the police officers. The reader would never really know what the police officers thought of the man, similar to Poe’s first-person point of view.

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1 Response to The Inevitability of Consequences

  1. William says:

    Great explicit detail and accurate illustration of the madman’s mind. I liked when you emphasized the “mockery” in this story. Have you considered including more aspects of the setting?

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