Edgar Allen Poe's story "A Tell Tale Heart," has the protagonist obsessed with an old man's eye. This obsession causes a conflict between the protagonist and his sanity. This eye eventually drove him t commit murder to rid the eye. The narrator's conflict increases as he plots the murder, commits the murder and finally after the murder.
This eye is a very obsessive eye. It has the capability to drive an ordinary person to insanity, which is what happens to the protagonist. It is not the old man that the he is obsessed with, it is the old man's one eye. The protagonist's obsession is because of the eye's look of evilness. The narrator claims he is not mad nor crazy because of his cleverness. Every night for seven nights he would cautiously sneak into the old man's room while he was sleeping and stare at the eye. Although he would find the eye always closed, he would still stare. It was hard for him to overcome this obsession. This continued for seven nights straight, but on the eighth night the obsession would become a killer.
On the eighth night the narrator, full of confidence, would enter the room and awaken the old man. At this point the old man's eyes open and the protagonist sees the evil eye. The narrator's obsession is becoming more furious. Then, already furious the protagonist hears a heartbeat. It was a sound that, "a watch makes when enveloped in cotton." This was the old man's heartbeat and it increased the protagonist's fury. Now the narrator is full of fury. He also had an uncontrollable feeling of triumph and power. The narrator under all this confidence, triumph and fury, barged in to the room. Scaring the old man, the protagonist put him to the floor and pulled the bed over him. The protagonist could still hear the heartbeat but only for a moment as it died down. The deed was done. The evil eye would no longer trouble the narrator for it had been destroyed. All that there was left to do was to hide the corpse.
After the murder the protagonist wisely disposed the corpse and continued on with his sanity………or to say. The narrator had cut off the arms and legs of the body and placed the pieces between the scantlings in the chamber floor. He had also wisely caught all the blood, made by the amputations, in the bathtub. And so it all drained away. So the narrator thinks he has it all plotted out and now he can continue on with his life with out the bother of the obsession. But moments later there is a knock on the door. It is the police. They had a report of a scream. The narrator had some expectation of this. Calmly and confidently The narrator search the house with the officers. They fail to find anything suspicious. So after the search, the officers have a seat and chat with the narrator. While chatting and wanting the officers to leave, the protagonist hears the sound as he did before. " The sound of a watch enveloped in cotton," had grown loud and clear. This had greatly annoyed the narrator and also built up his fury. Frustrated and angered the narrator grew pale. His confidence was on a complete breakdown. He was thinking that the officers had known and now was mocking him. This drew him closer and closer to insanity. Baring to take this any longer, the narrator exploded and confessed the deed.
The protagonist had lost the struggle himself and sanity. The obsession would haunt him forever. Although the eye had been destroyed, the guilt in the protagonist's mind will keep the image in his mind to disturb him. The protagonist is clearly insane but he himself still claims that, "what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?"