Edgar Allan Poe made this story special for the reader. It is a study of paranoia and mental deterioration. First of all, he combines the narrator and the protagonist. Poe writes this story from the perspective of the murderer of the old man. When an author creates a situation where the protagonist tells a personal account, the general shock of the story is sharp. The narrator, in this particular story, adds to the effect of horror by continually stressing to the reader that he is not mad, and tries to convince us of that fact by how carefully this brutal crime was planned and executed.. It is surprising, because the criminals frequently deny their crimes.
The reader doesn’t know much about the protagonist, not even his name or his sex, using only “I” and “me” in reference to his character. It could as well be a young man or an old lady. While he tells his tale, the narrator uses a cold and factual tone. He uses a lot of vocabulary in reference with death and suffering, as to create an atmosphere where the reader could feel uneasy, such as “Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold.”
The narrator stresses the reader that he is not mad, and tries to convince him of that fact by showing how carefully his crime was planned and executed. ” You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded”
Moreover during the whole tale, he builds attempts to convince the reader he’s not a madman but in fact, he seems more to be trying to persuade himself he’s not one:
“It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this?”
What makes the reader feel odd is also the fact that the murderer’s crime is the result of an irrational fear. Something that human beings cannot explain. It is well known that humans fear what they can’t explain or understand. The reader finds himself trapped in a story where the murderer talks directly at him. A murderer who is afraid of his own reactions toward a simple innocent man, and presses the reader to agree he’s not mad, knowing perfectly he is, but refuses to admit it.
The murderer’s crime is the result of an irrational fear. To the narrator that fear is represented by the old man’s eye. Poe describes this eye as being pale blue with a film over it, and resembling that of a vulture. But the narrator doesn’t have any reason to fear the old man or his eye. It may be his phobia of the dark side, and eventually drives him into madness.
The faith in the evil eye dates back to ancient times, and even today, is fairly common in India and the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. those who possess the evil eye have the power to harm people or their possessions by merely looking at them.
Maybe the storyteller who tries to convince us that madness is not really the issue, is telling the truth. The narrator speaks of an illness that has heightened the senses: “Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heavens and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. “The narrator repeatedly insists that he is not mad; however the reader soon realizes that the fear of the vulture eye has consumed the narrator, who has now become a victim to the madness which he had hoped to elude. A contradiction important to the story is the involvement of the tension between the narrator’s capacities for love and hate. The narrator finds himself killing this old man because of one of his eyes. “I loved the old man. I think it was his eye! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold.”
Edgar Poe used a flashback. A flashback is literary technique that reveals essential information about a character’s past or a past event. It interrupt the current action or chronology of the story to show a scene from the past. By using these flashbacks, the author manages, to express the confusion of the protagonist’s mind. Moreover, Poe uses a gothic literary style, where story of darkness may happen in a more everyday setting, such as the quaint house where the protagonist goes mad from the “beating” of his guilt. Poe strips the story of a river of detail as a way to intensify the murderer’s obsession with the old man’s eye, the heartbeat, and his own claim to sanity.
Allan Edgar Poe, wrote a strong story, with an unusual point of view. Following, the criminal in his long way down to madness, and his resistance towards the truth. He’s the one with a problem, not the eye. But the reader is supposed to be convince at the end of his speech that he’s not mad, but they finally, think he isn’t “just nervous” as he says, but mad.