The narrator's lack of suspicious behavior convinces the policemen that nothing is wrong, and they sit down on the chairs and chat with him.
However, after a while, the narrator begins to wish that the policemen would leave, as his head aches and he hears a ringing in his ears.
The irony of the narrator's account in "The Tell-Tale Heart" is that although he proclaims himself to be too calm to be a madman, he is defeated by a noise that may be interpreted as the beating of his own heart.
Because of the unreliability of the narrator, it is impossible to know for certain if the beating is a supernatural effect, the product of his own imagination, or an actual sound.
The narrator invites them inside, knowing that he has nothing to fear, and he explains that he had been the one to yell as a result of a bad dream and that the old man is currently out visiting the country.
He shows the policemen the house and confidently allows them to search it before bringing out chairs which he, in his assurance, places on top of the floorboards that hide the corpse.He feels that he "must scream or die," so he finally shrieks the truth, telling the policemen to tear up the floorboards and reveal the beating of the old man's heart.Analysis The protagonist of the "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a classic example of Poe's unreliable narrator, a man who cannot be trusted to tell the objective truth of what is occurring.The narrator's nerves are wracked by the sight, and he fancies that because of his oversensitivity, he has begun to hear the beating of the old man's heart.The beating firms his resolve as he continues to increase the intensity of the light on the man's eye.His unreliability becomes immediately evident in the first paragraph of the story, when he insists on his clarity of mind and attributes any signs of madness to his nervousness and oversensitivity, particularly in the area of hearing.However, as soon as he finishes his declaration of sanity, he offers an account that has a series of apparent logical gaps that can only be explained by insanity.However, a likely logical explanation is that when the protagonist is under stress, he hears the sound of his heart, "a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes enveloped in cotton," and he mistakes it for the sound of the old man's heart.This lack of understanding parallels his lack of awareness of his actions as he chats with the policemen and highlights the lapses in reason which belie his claims of sanity.Later, when he finally succeeds in killing the victim, he becomes positively cheerful, feeling that he has accomplished his goal cleverly and with the rationality that he associates with sanity.However, the unsuspecting behavior of the policemen suggests that the narrator has become essentially unaware of his behavior and his surroundings.