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Comparing Narrators

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The Tell-Tale Heart

The narrator in Tell Tale Heart does not give his name. His gender is not known, but an assumption is made according to his words when he says that he should not be fancied since he, a mad man, knew nothing. He is a wreck which makes it difficult to feel remorse for him. He is paranoid, mentally ill, nervous, and physically ill. He cannot differentiate the real from the unreal which contributes a lot to his loneness. He is a murderer. This could be the reason why he does not identify himself. The narrator is perverted; he wants to kill an old man to be free from his (old man) eye’s power. He sees it as the only way to run away from the eye. This is frightening as he spies on the old man every night before the murder date. His feelings overpowered him and he could stealthily walk to the old man’s bedroom as he secretly planned his murder. He goes through a creepy process which he seems to enjoy yet his ultimate goal is to kill the man.

The narrator is extremely sensitive to sounds. This could be a disorder caused by some physical illness rather than the mental illness he portrays. He can even hear his heart beats which he associates with the old man’s beats. They are an encouragement to him for proceeding with his evil plan of killing the man. The heart beats also made him admit to the crime. He is confident at the beginning as he plots to eliminate the man; but in the end, his guilty conscience sells him out. According to the story, it may be concluded that the old man was a wealthy one, and the narrator was a slave. This is shown by respect and love that the narrator confessed to having for the old man, though from the inside, derangement and fear were eating him up. This explains a lot about his nervousness and hatred of the eye that probably gazed at him with disgust and dominance. It also explains why he enjoyed invading the old man’s privacy in the bedroom because as a slave, he never had such a luxury.

The narrator is hopeless due to his nervousness, intense perception of the hearing senses, and murderous impulses. The murder, he committed, has tortured him completely though he clings to the mentality of enjoying it. He is determined to prove his sanity, but in the end, he proves to be more insane than sane. He tells the story hoping for redemption and cure of his physical illness, but it is hard to be remorseful for him. It is evident that the narrator is not normal minded; he has a strange point of view with no room for reason. His imagination is out of the normal people’s world. It can be concluded that the narrator suffered from paranoia.

The Cask of Amontillado

The narrator is called Montressor. He is a sinister. He takes pleasure in killing and considers it necessary. He is ruthless, cold, brutal, vengeful, merciless, and conniving. He talks about torturing and murdering Fortunato, and in his reasoning thinks, it is the perfect way to take care of the situation. He supposes it to be a justifiable act. He does not feel guilty about it, and after fifty years, he is still free and unpunished. Montressor is unreliable from the beginning of the story. He claims that he has been insulted by Fortunato but does not reveal what exactly has been done. He also vows to revenge and has no regrets about his deeds. He states, “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.” This shows that his mind is made up and has no second thoughts about his intended crime against his friend, bringing out his untrustworthy nature as a friend. If he is capable of killing his friend, he cannot be trusted; and if he lied about killing him, he still cannot be trusted.

Montressor is unsympathetic. He does not sympathize with anyone or anything. He does not feel sorry about his friend. Instead, it portrays him as a lunatic. His emotions towards his friend are clogged by envy and jealousy which results into cruelty and sensitivity; but he is still logical in his thinking and cannot be completely termed as mad. He tells Fortunato: “You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy as once I was.” This statement shows that envy is one of the motives that drove him to commit murder.

He is a sadist who mocks his friend, sworn enemy, with his words. He does this to make him beg for mercy just like he has been reduced to a beggar by his family’s fortune. This is evident in the way Montressor lures his prey to the murder spot. He had calculated his every move. He is vain and proud and considers insults to be ruining his reputation. He argues that his revenge is to hurt Fortunato just like he feels hurt. Even with all the hate in his heart, he manages to plan a detailed murder without arousing any suspicions. This cast presents Montressor as a man disturbed by his emotions. He acts normal, but in real sense, he is sensitive and cruel. He is intelligent and clever as has been shown by his well-kept secret for fifty years. It can be said that keeping this secret has been his ultimate punishment for his acts. He is remorseful and decides to reveal it on his death bed.

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