The Telltale Heart (Poe)

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The Telltale Heart
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man, obsessed with an old man's vulture-like eye, meticulously planned and executed his murder, only to be driven to confess by the sound of the victim's imagined beating heart.

A man, who was extremely nervous and sensitive, decided to kill an old man he lived with because of the old man's pale blue eye, which resembled a vulture's eye and made the man's blood run cold.

The Narrator — narrator; extremely nervous, obsessed with the old man's eye, cunning, and ultimately guilt-ridden.
The Old Man — victim; has a pale blue eye with a film over it, which unnerves the narrator.

The man carefully planned the murder, being extra kind to the old man during the day and secretly watching him sleep at night. For seven nights, he opened the old man's door and shone a lantern on the eye, but it was always closed, so he couldn't bring himself to commit the murder.

I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it.

On the eighth night, the man was more cautious than ever, but the old man woke up and asked who was there. The man stayed silent for an hour, then decided to shine the lantern on the eye, which was now open. The sight of the eye enraged him, and he heard the old man's heart beating loudly. Fearing that the noise would alert the neighbors, the man killed the old man, smothering him with the bed.

After the murder, the man dismembered the body and hid the pieces under the floorboards of the room. He felt confident that he had committed the perfect crime. However, a neighbor had heard a scream and reported it to the police, who arrived to search the house. The man welcomed the officers, showing them around the house and even inviting them to sit in the room where the murder had taken place.

As the officers chatted, the man began to hear a ringing in his ears, which he soon realized was the sound of the old man's heart still beating. The noise grew louder and more unbearable, but the officers seemed not to notice. Desperate to make the noise stop, the man finally confessed to the murder, telling the officers to tear up the floorboards and reveal the hidden body.