Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Dec. 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Tell-Tale-Heart/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, December 29). The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Tell-Tale-Heart/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide." December 29, 2016. Accessed February 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Tell-Tale-Heart/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "The Tell-Tale Heart Study Guide," December 29, 2016, accessed February 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Tell-Tale-Heart/.

The Tell-Tale Heart | Character Analysis

Share
Share

Narrator

This narrator is never fully characterized. Poe never gives us his name or tells what his relationship to the old man was. The two men are close enough that the narrator sees him every day for the week before he kills him, greeting him heartily every morning; and they are close enough that the narrator can intrude into the old man's bedroom nightly without having to sneak into the house. It is possible they are members of the same family, or that the narrator is the old man's servant, but readers never learn. They know only that he is passionate, unbalanced, and—if they trust his story—a murderer.

Old Man

Like the narrator the old man is incompletely characterized—intentionally so. The narrator mentions he has gold and that he has an unnatural and filmy blue eye like a vulture's, but neither he nor Poe mention the old man's name. The old man is a passive character. He is rich and seems to have some authority, but he does little in the story besides sit in bed, open his eye, and cry out.

Neighbor

The neighbor, who never actually appears in the story, hears the old man shriek in the night. Suspecting foul play the neighbor contacts the police to lodge a report.

Police

Three police officers come to investigate the report of a scream. The officers, who appear in the final few paragraphs of the story, are not differentiated and don't speak. Thanks to the narrator's calm and welcoming manner, they are at first convinced of his innocence, or so he says. Eventually, however, the narrator confesses to them.

Flashcards for Characters

View all

Term:

Figurative language

Definition:

Techniques used to create style in writing

Term:

Simile

Definition:

Comparison using like or as

Term:

Metaphor

Definition:

Comparison that does not use like or as

Term:

Alliteration

Definition:

Repeating of beginning consonant sounds

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Tell-Tale Heart? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!

Ask a homework question - tutors are online