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During the 18th century the gothic horror genre became popular with stories such as Frankenstein and Dracula By using the conventions of the Gothic horror to his advantage and also expressing a recognisable individual style Poe has become one of the most respected writers of his genre To study the extent that Poe conforms the conventions of the genre must first be identified A dictionary definition of Gothic Horror states that it is of or like a style of writing popular in the late 18th century which produced stories set in lonely frightening places with ruined castles haunted graveyards and eerie noises However when reading such stories other common conventions become apparent Some of these are paranoia fear of the dark side and images of ruin and decay In The Tell-Tale Heart the common features of a gothic horror story become clear from the start Poe says will you say that I am mad This shows that Poe is trying to play on peoples fear of the dark side of the mind and the demons associated with insanity This shows how Poe often did not create something scary but instead he took something people were already afraid of and made it seem more real Also the way this quote is phrased as a question makes the character sound paranoid The question suggests he needs reassurance on his mental state and is therefore unstable Poe then continues to describe this madness as a disease the idea of a disease can be closely linked with images of decay of a physical or in this case mental state Therefore within the first two lines of The Tell-Tale Heart Poe has used three ideas that are considered conventions of gothic horror However as you continue to read the story it becomes apparent that paranoia and the decay of the characters sanity are the ideas that are used most strongly The character has become fixated on a
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