The Tell-tale Heart

What would YOU do if the heart of the person you buried under the floorboards started making noise? Only one way to find out... (Note: Shmoop does not condone murder.)

19th-Century Literature19th-Century American Literature
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Literature19th-Century Literature
American Literature
Short Stories

Transcript

00:12

I 'm just a perfectly sane guy trying to make the best of my circumstances. [Guy in prison uniform]

00:16

Shh!

00:17

…Do you hear something?

00:19

…Anyway, I know you're wondering how I got here. [Prison guard speaking to the man]

00:21

Well, you're in luck.

00:22

I've got some time to kill, so sit back, relax, and ignore that weird thumping noise…you

00:28

hear it too, right?

00:29

I was just a regular guy, living the bachelor lifestyle with an old man roommate…y'know, [Guy tries talking to a girl in a club and gets hit in the face with a mop]

00:35

pizza and Xbox by day, clipping Polident coupons by night…

00:39

Oh, don't get me wrong, the old guy wasn't bad. [Old guy with a glass eye]

00:41

Heck, I kind of liked him…except for this one little thing…

00:44

…Need eye say more?

00:46

I couldn't live knowing that thing was near me…

00:49

So I did what any sane, rational human being would do…I hatched a plan to murder him [Guy drawing up a plan]

00:55

A sane, rational plan.

00:57

So I treated the geezer real nice for a whole week.

00:59

Y'know…poured his prune juice, cleaned his dentures, the whole nine yards. [Guy holding dentures]

01:02

Then each night, I’d sneak into his room and shine a light in to his eye.

01:06

What, you think I’d kill an old man in his sleep? [Guy holding a torch on to the old guys eye]

01:08

That would be disrespectful.

01:10

On the eighth night, I crept into his room and opened his door oh-so carefully...

01:14

But when I pulled out my lantern, I made a noise, and woke him up. [Guy drops the torch on the floor]

01:18

I waited…and I waited…and eventually, I shined the light on his eye.

01:22

And whaddya know…the old man was awake, and finally, I saw it.

01:26

…hoo boy, did it set me off.

01:28

I charged in like a maniac.

01:29

…A fully sane, emotionally stable maniac. [Man looks angry and holds his fists up]

01:32

How did I do the deed?

01:33

Well…let’s just say I took pillow fights to a whole new level. [Man hitting the old man with a pillow]

01:36

Next I needed to confirm the old man was dead…

01:39

…so I could move on to part two of my plan.

01:41

It’s a little graphic, so let’s use a visual metaphor. [Workers butchering meat]

01:44

Hope you weren't eating chicken…

01:46

When I was done, the old fart was in old parts.

01:48

I pried open three planks of the floorboard to hide the remains. [Guy chucks a bin bag between the floor boards]

01:51

And I really thought I had gotten away with it…if it hadn't been for those meddling

01:56

neighbors.

01:57

See, someone heard the old man scream and called the police. [Policeman walks in]

01:59

"No big deal," I thought.

02:00

I’m a cool cucumber with a perfectly normal looking floor...no old man parts under these [Guy with 'no police allowed' sign over his floor]

02:05

boards, no, sir…

02:06

I just told them I had screamed in my sleep, the old man was out of town, and everything

02:10

was right as rain.

02:11

But, as you've probably guessed, that's not where the tale ends. [Man is dressed in a superhero costume]

02:14

It’s time I tell you about my superpower.

02:16

I basically have bionic hearing. [Man has large ears]

02:18

Seriously.

02:19

All my senses are incredibly heightened.

02:21

I can hear a baby blinking from two rooms away.

02:23

…That's perfectly normal, right? [Man walks into the babies room]

02:25

Babies just blink very loudly…

02:27

So while the cops and I were shooting the breeze, I started to hear this soft thumping

02:32

noise…and it kept getting progressively louder. [Man looks shocked]

02:39

I could barely focus on what I was saying, but the cops didn’t seem to notice.

02:42

But it kept getting louder…

02:44

…and louder…

02:45

…and louder…

02:46

Until I realized…it was the old man’s beating heart, pounding away from under my [Guy looks annoyed]

02:52

floorboards.

02:53

I thought I could get through the interview, but you try focusing when there's a dead man's

02:56

heart thumping under your feet.

02:58

I couldn’t take it any more.

02:59

I thought they were going to bust me on the spot.

03:01

I had to confess.

03:02

I dug up the floor to show them what I had done. [Guy pulls back the floorboards to reveal the bin bag]

03:05

My landlord was not going to be happy, that was the end of my deposit.

03:08

And now I’m here.

03:09

I did the crime, I’m doing the time.

03:11

All because of my stupid super-ears.

03:12

…I mean, the psychologist said it wasn’t the beating heart I was hearing, but rather, [Guy meeting with a psychologist]

03:18

a “manifestation of my guilt.”

03:19

I guess that’s one way to look at it.

03:22

All I know is that Celine Dion was onto something with that whole, "my heart will go on," thing… [Celine Dion performing]

03:27

(heartbeat noises).