What is madness? Is any individual mad purely due to the fact they are different, and do they in return see the same about the world? In the short stories “The Tell-Tale Heart ” by Edgar Allen Poe The story is based on a confession from the unknown narrator, who starts addressing the reader of having killed an older man. He confesses that his main desire for killing the older man was not for money but fear. and “The Rats In The Walls”’ by H.P. Lovecraft, based on a man named Delapore who moves into his old ancestors home, which results in Delapore’s uncommon findings and at some point of the story pile collectively and lead to his whole madness and intellectual breakdown. The authors give two distinctive gothic tales portraying a lesson of crime. We see two men in each story who are lonely and isolated. Both stories show the reality of humankind and how we cannot often comprehend that there is an evil at the heart of creation.
In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator who is a killer plans the death of the old man with whom he lives. He is physically and mentally ill, and can’t seem to distinguish between the real and unreal. “For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and I did not hear him lay down. He was still sitting-up; listening” (Poe 68). The narrator accidentally wakes the old man, this quote proves the murderer is very alert. While opening the door, the killer says “I moved it slowly-very, very slowly, so that I may not wake the old man. It took me an hour to place my whole head in the opening” (Poe 69). The tale is gaining strength by showing how the protagonist stalks his victim like a hunted beast. The way the narrator intentionally terrorizes the old man before killing him, is similar to a hunted beast but far worse, as only a crazy person terrorizes a person before killing them. This story shows an effort by the narrator to rationalize his irrational behavior.
In “The Rats in The Walls” Mr. Delapore appears to be well ordered and sane, but due to the disclosures of his family’s past, a genetic cruelty and his outrage over his son’s passing, Delapore assaults one of his companions within the dim of the cavernous city and starts eating him where he drifts into the indistinct languages, ultimately all that he can do is make guttural noises. He is hence repressed and set in a mental institution. Exham Priory was demolished soon afterwards and the agents chose to cover up the town’s existence. Delapore maintains his innocence, saying it was ‘the rats, the rats in the walls’ who ate the man. He goes on to be tormented by the sound of rats inside his cell walls. This is the state they find him in, three hours later, when he was found crouching over Capt. Norrys ‘ half-devoured corpse in blackness. Lovecraft pointed to the inescapable nature of ancestral fear, or that other secrets are best not to be informed of.
The authors in the two stories use different ideas to describe the actions that took place in the stories. Ignorance is the central theme in both stories. In Tell-Tale Heart, the author describes the idea from the first sentence, as he introduces the murderer who confesses his actions. He says that he killed the older man but did not hate him, describing the theme of ignorance within him. He tells the story calmly and remorseless. He even goes ahead to say that he did not want the old man’s wealth but ended up killing him without a concrete reason. His main reason for killing the older man is as a result of his eyes, which were pale and ended up fearing him. He describes the eyes of the older man as an eye of the vulture explaining the ignorance state of the killer. In the rats in the wall, ignorance is described throughout the story while the author describes the ignorance the people in the city lives in throughout their life. He says that the people in the town live ‘on a placid of ignorance amid black seas of infinity.’ People in the town avoid poking around activities around and diffing up hex-marked graves describing ignorance as a theme throughout the story. Even after the killing of the family of James, the first was killed in their homestead, and no one is conserved to dig out on what happened to the family until the last person in the family shows up to establish what happened to his family. Ignorance is a well-explained theme in both stories. In the Tell-Tale Heart, the central theme is based on guilt and madness, unlike in the rats in the walls. The narrator, through his words, is unable to contain his guilt of ever killing the older man that resulted in the confession. The guilt forces the man even to confess his actions to the police that destroy his criminal activities. Sanity is also a theme that has been described in the story as his actions lead to madness with time. The killing of the older man descends into madness, which is the effects of guilt that is going on in his life. Even after killing the older man due to his evil eye, the narrator still feels guilty for his actions. In “The Rats on the wall”, the author brings about responsibility as the central theme as compared to the Tell-Tale Heart. The last lineage of the de la Poer family is back in the city to restore his family, which was once a prominent English clan (Lovecraft 306). Even after the warning given to him of digging about the past about his family, he is still interested in restoring his ancestral home, Exham Priory. The author brings out the theme of responsibility through the last heir of the Poer family.
Both stories are similar in the way both characters speak in their defense and work to defend themselves against the murderous charges leveled against them. The two men immediately consider the idea of madness, and then deny it. Although Poe’s narrator confesses to murder in the story right off the bat “I made up my mind to take the life of an old man,” (Poe 66) and on the other hand, Lovecrafts narrator continues to protest his innocence, saying things like “they accuse me of a hideous thing, but they must know that I did not do it.” (Lovecraft 315) Given these distinctions, each character welcomes the reader into his inner thoughts and encounters first-hand the driving compulsions and visions that haunt them as the narrator’s perception shapes the tale and reaches out to the reader. Through a confession these stories are revealed by a narrative and they use a special approach to storytelling and dramatic dialogue.
To conclude, in both similar but distinct short stories the “Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Rats In the Walls” the heart of a man knows the truth, and will always have a louder voice than the lies that are told to hide it. That is, you may be able to convince yourself that you are not “mad” but your actions will always define who you are and may bring out one’s true self. The characters in both horrific stories continue to reinforce that they are no different from any other human, but they act in barbaric manners which shows the significance of one going crazy and losing your mind.