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“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 415
  • Category: Fiction

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“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe is a tale that leaves a reader speechless, mesmerized and utterly confused. The short story holds a central irony concerning the narrator, the black cat and the wife. The whole story involves around the idea of death, visions of Karma, a major switch of personality of the narrator and the question of who is to blame for the black cat’s death. At the very start of the story the narrator cautions the readers that he is “mad indeed” ( Poe 1154). He somehow feels important to discuss the “household events” which might have altered his lifestyle. The wife believed that a black cat is symbolized “as witches in disguise” (Poe 1155) and coincidentally the narrator names the cat Pluto who is also the God of the dead. The black cat is mentioned more than the wife because the narrator blames the cat for the unfortunate events in the story. These events started from him being an alcoholic to the murderer of two cats and his only wife. The story revolves around the idea of death which in this case is the black cat. The narrator confirms us that since infancy he “Was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my [his] parents with a great variety of pets” (Poe 1154).

We know from this that he was not born a murderer but due to those household events he transformed completely. He treated his wife like a pet which might have allowed him to kill her thinking no less than a pet he owned. The narrator killed anyone who “came in my [his] way” (Poe 1155) which was probably all due to the presence of the black cat he believes is responsible for his souls and his wife’s death. When the narrator “cut one of its eyes from the socket” (Poe 1155) of the black cat, the blindness of the cat could be symbolizing the narrators own blindness towards moral goodness. Karma plays its role during the end of the story when the narrator confesses the police officers of his wrong doing. He still blames the cat that “had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice has consigned me to the hangman!” (Poe 1161) but we do not know who is questionable for the deaths in this story. Therefore, the black cat holds more significance in this story than the wife since the narrator is highly influenced by the cat and not the wife.

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