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Descent into Madness


            
             The descent into madness takes place in both story's the Tell Tale Heart and The Yellow Wallpaper. Madness is defined by the Winston Senior dictionary as being mentally ill, or being unable to behave in a reasonable way. In each story the main characters undergo dramatic changes in both their mental state of being, and their physical personalities. These main characters become obsessed and fixated with aspects of their life which drives them into this descent of madness. These obsession causes the characters to become slaves to their own minds and allows the madness that encompasses them both physically and mentally. .
             The Tell Tale Heart deals with an individual who is a caretaker for an elderly gentleman. This individuals descent into the madness begins with an elderly gentlemen and his "eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film over it." The caretaker becomes obsessed with the eye as it makes his blood run cold. This fear or phobia of the eye evokes the caretakers transgression to evil which eventually leads to the murder of the elderly gentlemen. Throughout the story the narrator ( or caretaker) tries to convince himself that he is still sane for the reason that "if you still think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took". The caretaker feels that because he is so careful that he could not be going mad as he states "Madmen know nothing."(Poe) After such careful planning and flawless execution of the murder the caretakers mind begins to haunt him. The concealment of the body in the physical state begins to haunt the caretakers mental state as the sound of a soft heart beat echo's through his head. The echo of the heart beat increases to the point where the caretakers sanity collapses and the body is revealed. In this story we see how the fear of the vulture eye consumes the caretaker and leads him to murder. This shows that the fear of falling into madness was all to real for the caretaker as he becomes a victim to his own mind.


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