The Psychological Disorder of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart Essay

1143 Words 5 Pages
In his essay "On the Nature of Man", Lavater expounds his opinion that " an intimate correlation exist[s] between man's spiritual internal essence and his physical constituent parts" (Lavater 98). Human beings experience life trusting that eyes are lenses to the outer world without comprehending the very fact that eyes mirror the interior more than the exterior part. Many literary works discuss this physical-psychological bond, but none is as perfect and profound as Edgar Allan Poe. In his story "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe accumulates perversity, madness, paranoia and self-destruction to play on the "Eye" pun. The narrator uses this pun to embody all the symptoms of psychological disturbance both in the projection of his …show more content…
Moreover, in the Lacanian context, "the eye allows the self to see itself" which necessarily means that the concept of "sight" and "insight" are blurred in the narrator's mind (The four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis 95). Also, the film covering the eye supports this idea and puts an emphasis on the misunderstanding of the previously mentioned concepts. The narrator neglects the fact that what he sees is what he has deep inside. The brutality, savagery and ferocity repressed in the narrator's unconsciousness are actually projected onto the old man's eye and not "eyes" so as for the pun to work out. Such a hypothesis assures that the old man is essentially the manifestation of the narrator's unconscious. But Daniel Hoffman suggests another interpretation relating to the oedipal castration. He declares that, "the old man is a father figure, and the narrator comes to hate the surveillance of the child by the father" (Hoffman 223); therefore, the eye functions as the gaze of the father and surrogates the father's intimidating penis. In other words, the old man symbolizes the paternal power over which the child rebel and "rid [him/her] self of the eye forever" (317). Whether the old man represents the unconsciousness of the narrator or his/her father figure, the eye remains evil for carrying two contradictory laws, one proudly favoring the harsh law, and the other abandoning all laws for its own interest (Wang-chi Ki 28).

Related Documents

Price Highest | Sabse Smart Kaun | Supercell