Poe Reference

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Reference. In my view, "The Tell-Tale Heart" foregrounds different stages of Ego-Evil as the narrator defines himself through the narcissistic eye, the malicious glare, and the enigmatic gaze of the other. In the story, the narrator clearly grounds himself as a powerful Master who can determine all values. As a result, he sees that he is sane, and that his disease is good. His disease has merely "sharpened [his] senses -- not destroyed -- not dulled them" (91). He remains an absolute Master who has an eye for the ultimate Truth, hence he can "calmly tell [the readers] the whole story". This episode foregrounds the way of the eye, which is always on the side of the Subject and its narcissistic fantasy. In the Lacanian context, the eye allows the self to see itself as a unified creature and as a judge, hence the eye is essentially related to the imaginary "identity-building" process. However, as the eye sees what it wants to see, "sight" or "insight" can mean bias. As noted by Ellie Ragland, the eye gives a narcissistic perspective of "unification and fusion" that does not guarantee truth, though it certainly offers a personal "principle of law or judgment" (95). In the story, the eye's bias shows itself when the narrator immediately views the old man's disease in a negative light. The old man's cataract is seen to be the "Evil Eye" (89). If we borrow Martin Buber's concept, we may as well call it the "I-Thou difference." John Cleman believes that the narrator's mental condition is crucial in leading to this conclusion. He quotes Isaac Ray and points out that "madness is not indicated so much by any particular extravagance of thought or feeling, as by a well-marked change of character or departure from the ordinary habits of thinking, feeling and acting, without any adequate external cause”. However, humans do not need to be mad to slight others and prefer…...

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