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The Tell-Tale Heart

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  56,351 ratings  ·  1,981 reviews
A murderer is convinced that the loud beating of his victim's heart will give him away to the police.
Hardcover, 54 pages
Published 1998 by Books of Wonder (first published 1843)
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Sara I believe he is insane trying to convince us he is sane.
Many times he mentions that he isn't crazy because of one reason or another.
"TRUE! --nervous -…more
I believe he is insane trying to convince us he is sane.
Many times he mentions that he isn't crazy because of one reason or another.
"TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. ... How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story."(less)
Gurmehar Reading the story, you will realise that the narrator has unbalanced thoughts. The story does not tell as to why does he want to kill the old man who …moreReading the story, you will realise that the narrator has unbalanced thoughts. The story does not tell as to why does he want to kill the old man who has striking blue 'vulture eyes'. It is the whole planning and strategising stage where he maps his steps for that one night where he would take charge and murder the old man. He did not stalk, as he was already in the same house as his caretaker, therefore, he kept an account of the old man's night routine and sleeping pattern.

The story is definitely creepy and a little disturbing, but it is so well written by Edgar Allan Poe, especially with the use of unconventional language( use of expressions - ha! ha!) which makes it very real and visual. Unlike other stories, it was easy to visualise the thought process, uneasiness and the anxiety the narrator had. (less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Typical Poe.

He is so descriptive, yet we don't actually know much about the narrator.

I think he's Poe himself.
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
a delightfully morbid, fantastical story. i love that the literary discussion opportunities abound. WAS he mad? was it guilt? was he being haunted? we can only guess.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe
The Tell-Tale Heart by writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1843. It is relayed by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity while simultaneously describing a murder he committed. The victim was an old man with a filmy "vulture-eye", as the narrator calls it. The narrator emphasizes the careful calculation of the murder, and he hides the body by dismembering it in the bathtub, and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately,
Creepy and fascinating...wonderfully evil and beautifully written... Edgar Allen Poe, the master of dark stories. First published in 1843, that's a long long time ago....
Three stories in this Penguin classics booklet, the famous Tell-Tale Heart (brilliantly weird and insane), The Fall of the House of Usher (what's going on exactly.... very poeticly written, intriguing, dark and mysterious atmosphere) and The Cask of Amontillado (wonderfully evil story). Loved it, beautiful language and Poe real
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unnamed narrator who is telling this story plots to kill an elderly man because he hates his horrible and scary "vulture eye"...

Enjoyable, atmospheric, fast and creepy read. Poe was a great storyteller!
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a quick little stab of the macabre this tale is! It's a classic example of the unreliable narrator, who tries desperately to convince the reader of his sanity even as he stalks, kills, dismembers, and buries an old man for no other reason than that the man's eye "resembled that of a vulture." Of course the harder he tries to convince the reader of his sanity, the more insane you realize he is: "You should have seen how wisely I proceeded--with what caution--what what foresight--with what di ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula by: Sandra
A very dark story about a man's descent into madness. I really enjoyed Poe's unique, somewhat poetic, writing style. Perfect for my Halloween reading.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
"... it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye."

The nervous narrator decides murder is the only way to rid himself of this horrible eye -- but he didn't plan for the old man's heart.

This is one of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous short stories, from 1843. The unreliable narrator tells about how he was undone by an old man's clouded, "vulture-like" eye and beating heart ... or was he?


The unnamed narrator is talking to another person, presumably a psychiatrist or policeman, trying his
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Who wouldn't find this insanity pure bliss? OK, possible exaggeration, but honestly... the rhythm and the beat of the words just make their own music in your mind and your breath as you read through them. A master... I wish I could have met him. Guessing what the noise is and what's going on around you... makes you want to watch the whole scene looking in from the window.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT.
Bionic Jean
The Tell-tale Heart, written in 1842, is one of Poe's best known short stories, despite its brevity. It is a study of the psychology of guilt, madness and paranoia, which are themes present in many of Poe's other works. The author uses a favourite claustrophobic device of his - (view spoiler) ...more
Sean Barrs
This is quite possibly my favourite short story of all time as it makes me laugh so much. The narrator tries so hard to convince you of his sanity, but in doing so reveals more about his insanity than his dark deed does itself. It's kind of ironic really. I mean he mistakes the pounding of his own heart with that of the old man’s and uses it as a prompt to murder him because, after-all, the neighbours might hear the beating of his heart though the walls. And lo and behold his evil eye that is so ...more
Edgar Allan Poe’s very short story from 1843 still packs a punch.

A narrator of unknown age, gender, and relationship to an old man, defends their own sanity, as they explain how they planned his murder - a man who they say has never harmed them, and whose death would not profit them. Nor do we know if they’re talking to themself, a psychiatrist, God, the police, or unimagined readers, more than 150 years later. The only reason given for the killing taps into the sort of fears many of us have in
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The narrator, a mad man, calmly tells the readers how he killed his boss (the old man) because he was enraged by his boss’ eye since it looks like a “vulture’s eye” that he felt always watched him. Eventually the guilt of commiting a murder drives him insane and he reveals his crime.

Classic horror! Perfect blend of language and great storytelling. Short, compelling and a spooky read. Fascinating to hear the murderer's perspective and watch him slowly lose his sanity through his narration. Intere
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best short stories ever written, scared the bejesus out of me when I was a teenager and as you know teenagers are scared of nothing, because they know everything. Ha!
"A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong"
- Edgar Allan Poe, "The Cask of Amontillado"


Vol 31 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains the following short-stories:

1. The Tell-Tale Heart - ★★★★★
2. The Fall of the House of Usher - ★★★★
3. The Cask of Amontillado - ★★★★★

The book is titled with the first story, but more than half this volume is ac
Jason Koivu
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
A short story classic!

Poe had excellent timing in the pace for The Tell-Tale Heart, setting it to the quickening beat of a increasingly nervous heart. (Don't you dare comment below about how "the heart" mentioned in the story is the victim's, not the narrator's!)

Countless future writers, especially tv writers needing to tie things up within a half hour, would use this story as a framework for how to wring a confession out of a perpetrator.

Unfortunately, this story might not capture the terrifie
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this in English class about two days ago, and at that moment, I realized what true writing talent was.

It’s a beautiful story.
Haunted story.

I’ve never read that much of Edgar Allen Poe’s work, but snaps for him, cause at the end, my whole class went speechless.

This is a story where at the beginning, you really know what the hell is bloody going on , but by the end, everything ties together.

A truly captivating story starring a madman.
Mohsin Maqbool
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing

READING an Edgar Allan Poe story is like you were watching a macabre dance of death in a gothic theatre in the dead of night. Mr. Poe is a master of suspense – chilling suspense. He builds it up slowly – so slowly – that you start feeling scared and getting goosebumps all over your body. You can hear your heartbeat just like the narrator does in “The Tell-Tale Heart”. However, it is not his heartbeat that he is hearing but that of a sleeping old man into whose bedroom he creeps into. A situation
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh this is a really creepy good one!.......(listened to the audio this time)

An unnamed narrator is the nightly intruder that watches the old man sleep. He must put an end to the evil eye that haunts his days and visits his dreams. He must be so quiet as he sneaks into the black as pitch chamber.....night after night.....and then, a shriek! The deed is finally done, but.....the nightmare only begins.

THE TELL-TALE HEART is dark and spooky with a GREAT ending! One of my POE favorites!

The Celtic Rebel (Richard)
Entertaining ~ Great World Building ~ Haunting ~ Original ~ Scary ~ Twisted ~ Unpredictable ~ Wonderful Characters

Poe's masterpiece of suspense and horror -- best way to describe it simply. Poe to me was at the top of his form here. The writing is so descriptive and just builds and builds in suspense as the narrator weaves his tale. It's creepy and fascinating as the narrator tells his story of paranoia and obsession; working to convince someone and the reader that he isn't crazy.

A true gem. I'v
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

p, is for Poe

4 Stars

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded –with what caution –with what foresight –with what dissimulation I went to work!

I have read A Tell-Tale Heart half a dozen times in my life and at every re-reading I am struck anew with Poe’s genius, he is one of the few writers I have ever come across who can entirely foreshadow a novel (or in this case short story) and yet still evoke e
Sarah Churchill
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Well... shit.

Loved it. Short and sweet but not lacking in suspense and downright creepiness. I'll hold my hands up and admit that this English Lit lover first heard of this story through The Simpsons. Sacrilege I know, but I guess it never made it on to the syllabus at my school. So I sort of knew how it would turn out, but still there's so much to consider here, I can see why it's a popular choice for study.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Tom's fave, personal rec, many 5s
I couldn't recall if I had read this one in high school or not so downloaded it over lunch today. A real quickie, but highly entertaining. That guy was sick!!!
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short, classic, timeless piece of bare horror. A look into the abyss of madness when madness gloats right back.

Does it take a maniac to portray a maniac that way? I wonder.

“And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

One of the most unforgettable short stories. Scary as anything too even reading it today. I picked this book to do a report on in my college literature class.

I am sure most have read it but if it now! A great little masterpiece and just writing this is making me want to read it all over again!
Aishu Rehman
I've never been a fan of Edgar Allen Poe but I always avoided reading this story because of how "scary" it supposedly was. Ha! A story about a man who murders another man and then has the hubris to think he got away with it until his own guilty conscience makes him turn himself in.
K. Elizabeth
*Read for class*

This was a fun story to start getting me into the near autumn season! Unfortunately, I've never been much of a Poe fan. Still creepy, though!
Connie G
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this short story unreliably narrated by a madman. The tension increases--as does the beating of the heart--as the narrator becomes more unstable. Even though I've read it multiple times over the years, I always marvel at how Poe constructed such a great story.
Stella❤️ 孔凡星
Read to David.
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The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of ...more

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“And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense?” 13 likes
“I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart.” 12 likes
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