Mental illness is a disorder that is characterized when
one’s thoughts, emotion, or behavior is severely impaired. It encompasses a
wide variety of disorders ranging from occasional stress to those that severely
impair an individual’s function to perform daily tasks. Psychiatry is a branch
of medicine that aims to prevent and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral
disorders. However, in the past, mental illnesses are often dismissed as thoughts
happening inside one’s head or they are simply “experiencing a phase.” By
failing to acknowledge that mental illness is a serious disease, treatment and
prevention had been stagnant. In literature, one notable author, Edgar Allen
Poe has a distinct writing style that focuses on the dark and horror aspect of
story-telling. One of his more notable works is titled Tell-Tale Heart that illustrates the insanity of the narrator.
Written in first person, it exemplifies the insane and dangerous thoughts of
the narrator. Although the narrator may refute that he is insane, an obsession
with a man’s pale blue eye and his beating heart highlights the irony of his
argument. Similar to the Cask of
Amontillado, the main protagonist, Montresor holds a grudge against his
lifelong friend Fortunato for insulting his pride. Even though Montresor argues
that he was deeply disturbed by Fortunato’s insult, Montresor never specifies
the insult, which implies that Montresor is letting pride in consuming his
judgement. In applying the study of Psychiatry treatment to the characters, it
would allow the audience to better understand how characters become insane.

            As previously stated, the narrator of Tell-Tale Heart is
considered insane due to his obsession with the old man’s pale blue eye and
beating heart. Although he may argue that he is not insane, he eventually
murders the old man because he fears that his blue eye has the power to view
the narrator’s thoughts and desires. Before killing the old man, the narrator
lurks in his bedroom for eight consecutive nights, pointing out that the man
has an “evil eye.” The narrator begins to draw a comparison with the “evil eye”
to an eye of a vulture. Like most scavengers, they have sharp eyesight to spot
dead carcasses, where other predators have managed to kill their prey. When we
apply the concept of Psychiatry to the narrator’s mindset, the narrator exhibit
symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). According to the American
Psychiatric Association, obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by when
people have recurring, unwanted, thoughts, and ideas that drives them to do a
repetitive action. As evident in this quote, it shows the impulsive and obsessive
behavior of the narrator; “A person who, for seven days, “went boldly into the
chamber, … calling the old man by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he
had passed the night,” (386) seems to abruptly change his course of action, to
the extent of murdering the old man. When the police arrive, the narrator is,
“singularly at ease,” (389).” Many people have thoughts that can be
characterized as focused and obsessive, yet it does not disrupt daily life and
may make certain tasks easier to accomplish. In the case of the narrator, he stalks
the old man because of his impulsive thoughts regarding his eye. This disorder
eventually causes the old man’s murder, when his pale blue eye directly stares
at the narrator. Another disorder that the narrator may have is schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, acts and
feels. Often times, schizophrenia can be very debilitating because most people
diagnosed with this condition appear to lost touch with reality. When
diagnosing the condition of the narrator, he exhibit symptoms such as severe deviations
in his behavior, the denial of empirical reality, and his ambivalence towards the
old man.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

            In analyzing the main character of the Cask of Amontillado,
Montresor is characterized by a thirst of vengeance toward anyone who belittles
his pride. When Montresor outlines the reason for his vengeful attitude
towards Fortunato, he states that it was an “insult.” “The thousand injuries of
Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed
revenge.” As evident in this specific quote, Montresor does not state the content
of the insult, yet he speaks in hyperbole in order to illustrate the pain Fortunato
inflicts upon him. Not knowing what the insult is, the audience assumes that it
was a frivolous insult. Rather than moving on, Montresor chooses to appear trustworthy
to Fortunato in order to assassinate him, when he least expects it. When Montresor
buries Fortunato in the wall, he taunts Fortunato in believing that he might let
him go. After the final plea, Fortunato shouts “For the love of God, Montresor”
to no avail. Like most insane people, they do not feel any remorse toward the
people they hurt. They believe that they were the victim despite the
overwhelming evidence.  For nearly fifty
years, Fortunato’s tomb has been undisturbed. Despite killing his friend,
Montresor feels no remorse of guilt over what he done. At this point in the
story, Montresor confesses to his crime, yet this confession makes him unreliable
since an enormous amount of time has passed. When diagnosing the condition of Montresor,
he exhibits symptoms of schizophrenia. Symptoms such as 

Post Author: admin


I'm Irvin!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out