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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Songs for "The Tell-Tale Heart"


John Watson
Blog #4, Option 2
Songs of Madness
            There are many songs that can be used to describe Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” as they relate to the narrator’s decent into madness, even the narrator claims that he is sane. Some of the songs that I believe are relevant to this short story are: “Breaking Point” by Bullet For My Valentine, “Insane In the Brain” by Cypress Hill, “Monster” by Imagine Dragons, “Fury Oh Fury” by Nico Vega, and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins. Bullet For My Valentine’s “Breaking Point” is relevant to “The Tell-Tale Heart,” because after looking at the old man’s “vulture eye” for a certain amount of time, even though the old man could not see out of this eye, the narrator reached the point, which was on the second paragraph of the story, where he could not tolerate the eye’s existence any longer and he decided to end the eye by killing the old man (Poe, 1). The negative emotions in this song matches with the narrator’s shear hatred for the old man’s eye and the song makes the scene where the narrator decides to kill the old man more intense because the song would provide a clear indication that the narrator has reached the tipping point and became mad.
            Cypress Hill’s song, “Insane In the Brain” may sound silly to people who listen to it for the first time, but the lyrics in this song match with the narrator’s mind set when he becomes obsessed with getting rid of the old man’s eye. The scene that this song would be relevant in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is the scene where the narrator believes that he hears the old man’s heart beat, even though the narrator suffocated the old man to death and then proceeded to dismember him and put the remains in the exact spot that the murder occurred, and he yells at the two police officers because he believed that they knew he murdered the old man and that they were toying with him. Cypress Hill’s song does make this scene a little more intense because it would make it more clear to the audience that the narrator has gone insane and therefore cannot think rationally. If the narrator thought rationally, he would have realized that he was hearing his own heartbeat instead of the deceased old man.
            Imagine Dragon’s single, “Monster” is relevant to this short story because it can be used to describe what the narrator has become after he decides to kill old man in order to escape the vulture eye and on how the narrator watches the old man sleep for almost a week like for some sort of predator studying its prey, before suffocating the old man using a mattress. This song matches the emotions of the scene where the narrator kills the old man and then dismembers him. The music of the song itself does not make this particular scene more horrifying, but the lyrics of the song match this scene because the song lyrics mention the singer becoming a monster.

            Nico Vega’s song, “Fury Oh Fury” is relevant to “The Tell-Tale Heart” because it can be used to describe the narrator’s anger towards the old man’s vulture eye and when the narrator unleashing all of his pent-up rage by suffocating the old man with a mattress in order to eliminate the eye. This song makes the scene in the previous sentence have a more intense feeling of anger because the song lyrics mention bottling up your negative emotions and then letting your rage take over and consume you. These lyrics describe the narrator’s frustrations with the old man’s eye and how the narrator later lets his hatred and rage guide his actions.
            The final song on the list that is relevant to Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” is Smashing Pumpkins’ song, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” This song is relevant to this short story because the lyrics revolve around the singer being caged up like an animal even after releasing his pent up anger. These lyrics can be used to describes the narrator’s feelings and way of thinking because the narrator feels trapped by the old man’s eye, but after he kills the old man, the narrator is arrested and put in a jail cell after admitting to the two cops that he murdered the old man, a physical cage instead of a mental cage. The music in this song make the scene where the narrator kills the old man and later confesses to the police and is put in jail have a more intense feeling of rage and despair due the fact that even though the narrator managed to escape the eye, he found himself in another cage, one with actual walls and iron bar on all sides.
            These five songs are only a few of the many songs that can be used to describe the events in “The Tell-Tale Heart” as well as the narrator’s decent into insanity. Each of these songs describes the madness of the narrator and of his crime of murdering the old man just because the narrator could not tolerate the old man’s eye. The rage and despair within these songs mimic the emotions of the narrator and help to reveal his insanity, even though the narrator’s tale did little to convince people that was sane.


Poe, Edgar Allen. “The Tell-Tale Heart,” published in 1843.

Spill It Now [Dot] Com, “Imagine Dragons: Monster,” album cover, Spill It Now [Dot] Com, accessed on October 17, 2013.

Zach Kambour, “Bullet For My Valentine: Temper Temper,” album cover, Mostly Metal, accessed on October 17, 2013.

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