Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most renowned American freelance writers, is applauded specially for his stories. His stories are pregnant with chilling images and psychological realities. Being rich in the aspects of psyche, the copy writer has won the interest of several critics and much has been said in this respect. Poe was a medication addict and was a crucial psycho patient. This devised the element needed for his psychological tales as we find some sizes of his writings heading parallel along with his life. Keeping this richness at heart the researcher shows much interest in checking out the deeper perspectives.
This paper is an attempt to identify out Jungian aspects in another of Poe's distinguished tales 'The Tell-Tale Heart and soul. ' 'The Tell-Tale Center', a story in which the narrator exasperated by the so called 'Evil Eye' of an old man commits the heinous criminal offenses of murdering him. During this whole span of time - the look and execution of the crime, the anonymous narrator must go through an extremely profound psychological injury which when examined in the light of Jungian ideas will take us to very startling realities. The Jungian areas of psyche: mindful, personal unconscious, collective unconscious, shadow, persona, archetypes and anima/animus emphasize their presence even as we go through the text.
The very title of the story is so revealing. 'Tell-Tale' -Collins dictionary defines it as "allowing a top secret to be known. " Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines it as "an outward indication of something concealed. " On surface level the subject indicates that the narrator is posting something very personal and secretive with us. Quite simply, the narrator is showing with us his utmost evil doings which can be otherwise kept top secret. Psychoanalytically examining the subject, we reach some very exclusive facts. The narrator shares some very secretive aspect with us which is lying down deep someplace in the unconscious and even the narrator is unaware of that but unconsciously shares it with us. Adding it more simply, the narrator unconsciously gives a vibrant picture of the profound abyss of his unconscious. This picture that the narrator sketches out before us is including his past encounters, repressions leading to the creation of shadow and the collective unconscious.
The tale opens with a dialogue where the narrator speaks to the viewers and tries to provide some justifications regarding his illness and being wrongly regarded as mad.
"why will you say that I am mad?. . . . . How, then, am I mad?" (p. 01)
Apparently it seems that the narrator is addressing the readers however the case appears to be quite different, as the narrator is most probably going through an interior dialogue with the unconscious. The narrator attempts to pacify the voices that are from the unconscious, which term him as mad. The point that the narrator is within a dialogue with the unconscious can be substantiated by the actual fact that he says,
"I heard everything in the heaven and in the planet earth. I heard many things in hell. " (P. 1)
Such 'severe hearing' power is obviously a reference to the unconscious as the mindful part of the psyche is not a lot of and restricted in potentials and capacity. Actually, it can be argued here that the narrator will try his level best to generate a bridge between the mindful and unconscious so the tension by which he is going is terminated once and for all. The narrator is, with no uncertainty, not mad yet somehow we cannot exempt him from subconscious disorder. As we go through the successive happenings we reach a summary that the narrator has truly failed in creating that bridge and therefore he is far from individuation.
It would be injustice if the author of the story is ignored here. As Oscar Wilde says,
"To reveal art work also to conceal the designer is Art's aim. " (P. 1)
Here we see the picture of the artist, Poe, behind the field. The tale seems to have a tinge of autobiographical realities. In relation to psychoanalysis we may produce this debate that through narrator's unconscious we have been met with the unconscious of the author who is believed to have determined suicide almost certainly due to his devilish shadow. It is very likely that the author himself went through terrible traumatic activities of the same kind and unconsciously depicted his shadow in the story. This view is further consolidated when the narrator uncovers one of is own secrets by expressing,
". . I say I understood it well. I understood the actual old man thought, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. " (P. 5)
"Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's mindful life, the blacker and denser it is. . But if it's repressed and isolated from awareness, it never gets corrected and is likely to burst forth out of the blue in a moment of unawareness. By any means events, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant motives. " (Par 131 p. 76)
Keeping in view the assertion of Yung, in my opinion, for our narrator the 'Bad Eyesight' becomes a very unpleasant and devouring shadow. He's unable to satiate the shadow through conscious as the bridge is not created. We can also claim that before the narrator do have some unpleasant experience which can had something similar start 'Evil Attention" that's why the moment he looks at the eye he is set burning and behaves much violently. Quite simply, looking at the eye refreshes a few of his past occurrences and that happen to be further intensified as the narrator daily looks at that eyes ("it haunted me day and night") and the shadow calls for the shape of a devastative volcano. Down the road, we discover that the narrator is properly used by the shadow as he murders an old innocent man simply for the sake of that one eyes, as he confesses,
"Object there was none. Passion there was none. I enjoyed the old man. He previously never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his silver I had formed no desire. I think it was his eyes!" (p. 3)
Hence the volcano is erupted taking massive devastation.
Throughout the story this shadow accompanies the narrator and handles him like a slave. With the landscape of the murder the greater demonized and terrible form of the shadow is symbolized by the loud beatings of the center as the shadow gets uglier so is the conquering of the heart getting louder and then your shadow does indeed its work, the narrator kills the innocent old man in a most cruel way. Additionally it is important to mention that the narrator doesn't strike the old man until he discovers that 'Evil Eye' wide open, which clarifies that the that the shadow obtains is there in that eye or even to put it soon the narrator is obsessed by that bad eye by means of a shadow.
"It was the beating of the old man's center. It increased my fury, as the conquering of any drum stimulates the soldier into courage. " (P. 6)
Even in the last world, the narrator is not clear of the clutches of the massive shadow, however this time around it tasks itself by means of guilt as soon as again the shadow's (guilt) intensification is symbolized by the defeating center, which gets louder and louder and in parallel, the shadow gets increasingly more power. Resultantly, the narrator unwillingly abandons the idea of concealment and shows his real face.
Conscious and the unconscious has been fabulously described by Sigmund Freud with the aid of the metaphor of glaciers berg where he mentioned that the mindful is like the "tip of the iceberg" whereas, the unconscious is similar to that bigger part of the snow berg which is concealed in this particular.
Jung assumed the same except for the addition of the collective unconscious. Even the narrator admits this extraordinary vitality of the unconscious when he says,
"Never before that night had I thought the level of my own power- of my sagacity. " (p. 4)
This identifies the psychic energy which overcharges his unconscious in the form of shadow and this very energy is then projected in the conscious.
The scenes where the narrator keeps stalking the old man, and lastly kills him, are incredibly much symbolic in regards to to the ideas of conscious and unconscious. Light which is emitting from the lantern is symbolic of awareness and darkness which prevails in the area is the symbol for unconscious part of the mind. The lantern is protected in such a way that even a sole ray isn't possible to be discerned.
"I devote a dark lantern, all shut, shut, so that no light shone out" (p. 3)
Same is the truth with the conscious aspect of the narrator. The consciousness is completely dominated by the shadow which lies in the unconscious. As mentioned, the narrator is completely grasped by the unconscious and there is blackness prevailed within the consciousness. The theory is strengthened more by the actual fact that even literally the narrator cannot visualize the room. The ray that your narrator purposely emits from the lantern symbolizes the vulnerable and confined character of the consciousness. Conscious is fragile and dark because of the proven fact that the narrator is not in the least alert to his action and its consequences. He's so much inclined and prepared to destroy a person just because his eyes is disgusting. The image of the shadow becomes a lot ghastly that after murder the narrator even dismembers the body into different parts. These indicate that his awareness is engulfed by heavy black clouds. Persona regarding to Yung is:
"a compromise between the individual and population as to what a man should seem to be. " (p. 106)
It is a cover up worn by the given individual to cover their face which is not appropriate by the culture and screen that manufactured face which is considered acceptable and beneficial. The narrator for the accomplishment and concealment of his horrible offense wears different masks at certain places that will be singled out with much ease.
Firstly, the narrator confesses that to be able to accomplish his bad goal he has worn a face mask of kindness before that old man as he says,
"I used to be never kinder to the old man than during the complete week before I killed him. " (P. 03)
The narrator hides his devilish wants under the garb of a sort hearted specific. Later he says,
"And each morning, when the day broke, I proceeded to go boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, phoning him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night time. " (P. 04)
Here the narrator wears the robe of an extremely confident and vibrant person to be able to cover up his nervousness that could have alarmed the old man. The last scene is vital because there we've a very strong picture of the persona of the narrator which is overlapped by the feeling of the guilt and how his real face comes before the society. He says,
"The officers were satisfied. My manner possessed convinced them. I was singularly at easiness. " (p. 07)
Here once again his persona is so firmly projected and he makes an attempt vainly to save lots of his heart and soul from the tentacles of the population but in vain.
"Archetypes are innate, requiring like instincts no conscious learning for their acquisition. Unlike intuition, we aren't directly aware of their existence. " (p. 58)
They are thousands of years old and are not developed or evolved as they are inherent.
At the very beginning of the story the archetypes of God, Satan and nature are pointed out. As already mentioned these voices result from the unconscious, we can argue these actually come from the collective unconscious as the content of collective unconscious is archetypes and these display themselves through mindful once we consciously identify them in our surroundings. Second of all, the archetype that we come across is that of the old man who symbolizes knowledge, innocence and helplessness. The old man is offered as an extremely noble and gentle specific and till the end we find him in an exceedingly pious frameset of brain and he's so much helpless and unaware when the narrator is upon his head murdering him. The narrator is the projection of the devil archetype even as we find him totally resistant to the gentle, commendable and pious characteristics of the old man. His acts are so much satanic that his guilt doesn't allow him to flee. He is a true manifestation of devil as he's filled with hatred, brutality and chilly blood works through his veins. Furthermore we've the archetypes of regulation and serenity which is symbolized by the policemen. In addition they symbolize the archetype of expert which is this very power and law followed with the guilt which subject the narrator to bow before the policemen and hence the supremacy of laws is shown.
"The anima offers rise to illogical outbursts of temper; the animus produces annoying commonplaces. " (P. 87)
Hence both anima and animus own different qualities and both collections of qualities are crucial for a person therefore, the unification of both is important to successfully feel the painful procedure for individuation.
The narrator does not feel the process of individuation successfully. Among the major reasons of this inability is the absence of the unification of the anima and animus. Actually we can boldly make a claim that the narrator is animus-possessed. To place it in different ways, the animus of the narrator is over developed and the anima is stored so much a long way away in the recesses of the mind. We are able to concretize our case through certain textual situations.
". why will you say that I am mad? The disease experienced sharpened my senses-not ruined-. " (P. 01)
From time to time the narrator purposely puts frontward very convincing arguments to be able to show himself smart and remove the charge of being mad. He says,
"Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing at all. " (p. 03)
Similarly at another place he says,
"And today have I not advised you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses?" (p. 06)
Likewise, by the end he creates very persuasive responses by stating that
"If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I identify the wise safety measures I had taken for the concealment of the body. First of all I dismembered the corpse" (p. 07)
This acts as the best example for his reasoning capacity.
Secondly, the narrator acts a whole lot cruelly. There isn't even a solo instance in the text where we find him displaying his soft spot for the old man. The thing that vexes him is the fact 'Evil Eyeball' but he very stone heartedly takes the life of the old man who's no match for him. He describes the arena as
"Immediately I dragged him to the floor, and drawn the heavy bed over him. " (p. 06)
This brings ahead this inhuman attitude on his part. His callous heart and soul isn't satisfied with this, he crossed all the limits when he "dismembered the corpse" and "take off the head and the forearms and the hip and legs. " (p. 07) this implies that the narrator doesn't have even the slightest tone of the anima. Likewise, his boldness and courage are also products of animus which he very plainly expresses.
In conditions of anima, if we assess the narrator we surely find him quite devoid of all the qualities or features that are from the anima. If anima were slightly developed he would never have acquired the courage to commit such a heart and soul wrenching crime and top from it to degrade human nature in such an unsightly way.
There are certain elements in the story which hints to the narrator's self individuation process. Self individuation process is extremely painful because in this process we confront such harsh realities about ourselves which we usually press to avoid having contact with them. Many neglect to go efficiently through this technique.
In circumstance of the narrator the elements which hinders the do it yourself individuation process are firstly the unconscious is too problematic for him to grasp and make a bridge to it. The shadow is much substantial that the narrator does not have any option but to give up.
In the procedure of individuation there is a great fear that a person becomes a psycho however, there is certainly hope too an individual turn into a philosopher and a smart person. In my view the narrator when says that
"TRUE!-nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous. " (p. 01)
Is actually exhibiting an apprehension for the dreadful procedure for individuation which awe continues till the finish.
During the complete process that is, the look, committing and the concealment of the criminal offenses the narrator must go through a very tough and harsh time esp. in the form of waiting for hours, it's very probable that this rough and challenging time is symbolic of the pain by which we go when going through individuation process.
The narrator's story is a tale of self-individuation where he tries to complete the circle of the self through unifying the conscious and unconscious areas of the psyche but during this dangerous process the narrator collapses before attaining individuation as the bridge is never complete and the unconscious revolts from the narrator and engulfs him in to the deep dark well of the shadow.
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