The Tell-Tale Heart
"The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed. The victim was an old man with a filmy "vulture-eye", as the narrator calls it. The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator's guilt manifests itself in the form of the sound—possibly hallucinatory—of the old man's heart still beating under the floorboards.
The story was first published in James Russell Lowell's The Pioneer in January 1843. "The Tell-Tale Heart" is widely considered a classic of the Gothic fiction genre and is one of Poe's most famous short stories.
It is unclear what relationship, if any, the old man and his murderer share. The narrator denies having any feelings of hatred or resentment for the man who had, he says, never wronged him. He also denies that he killed for greed. The specific motivation for murder, the relationship between narrator and old man, and other details are left unclear. It has been suggested that the old man is a father figure, the narrator's landlord, or that the narrator works for the old man as a servant, and that perhaps his "vulture-eye" represents some sort of veiled secret, or power. The ambiguity and lack of details about the two main characters stand in stark contrast to the specific plot details leading up to the murder.