The black cat analysis. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat: Summary & Analysis 2022-10-03

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"The Black Cat" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1843. It is a psychological study of a narrator who descends into madness and cruelty, ultimately killing his own wife. The story is told from the perspective of the narrator, who is not named, and is characterized by its use of first-person point of view and its exploration of themes of insanity, guilt, and the supernatural.

The story begins with the narrator describing his love for animals, particularly cats, and his fondness for one particular black cat named Pluto. However, the narrator's love for Pluto turns to hatred when the cat becomes injured and begins to exhibit strange behavior, causing the narrator to become increasingly irritable and prone to outbursts of violence.

As the narrator's behavior becomes more erratic, he becomes convinced that the cat is possessed by the devil and attempts to kill it, hanging it from a tree in his garden. However, the cat miraculously escapes and reappears at the narrator's house, where it becomes the subject of his wife's attention and affection.

The narrator becomes jealous of the attention the cat receives and begins to resent it, leading him to commit a shocking act of violence against his wife, whom he kills and dismembers, hiding her body in the walls of the house. The black cat, which had been watching the crime, becomes the only witness to the murder.

The story ends with the narrator's arrest and confession of the crime, and the revelation that the black cat had been hiding in the walls with the remains of the narrator's wife. The cat's presence, combined with the narrator's own guilt and the strange circumstances of the crime, lead the authorities to believe that the cat was an accomplice in the murder.

"The Black Cat" is a classic example of Poe's exploration of the dark side of human nature and the psychological effects of guilt and madness. The story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting negative emotions and irrational thinking take control, and the destructive power of unchecked violence and hatred.

A Summary and Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’

the black cat analysis

He even notes to himself that the one trait that had once distinguished him — a humanity of feeling — had now almost totally disappeared. The narrator of ''The Black Cat'' is forthright about his unreliability, telling readers at the beginning of the story that he does not expect them to believe his tale. It was just in a matter of time that he developed these feelings. Or, it may be something else entirely. Alcohol symbolizes the protagonist's lack of control and his moral failures. The police are satisfied, and in his absolute glee, the narrator stops them as they depart to mention how well-built the house is and taps his cane against the brick work that hides the body.

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The Black Cat “The Black Cat” Summary and Analysis

the black cat analysis

He grabs the cat, who bites him. Works Cited Moldenhauer, Joseph. It is not enough to get him to stop drinking, though. Is the use of foreshadowing particularly interesting to you? The alienation of his cat gave the narrator even more cause to become mentally unstable. One day, the narrator and his wife ventured into the cellar of the building where they now lived, and the cat raced past them down the stairs. One night at a drinking den, he found one that was like his old one, though with a splash of white fur. When he is finally arrested for his wife's murder, the protagonist is sentenced to be hanged for his crimes in a final recurrence of the image.

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The Black Cat Analysis

the black cat analysis

He hides her corpse in the wall of his house, and for a few days, thinks that he has gotten away with his crime. It first appeared in August of 1843 in the United States Saturday Post. In Greek mythology, Pluto was the Roman god of death or hades, or the underworld Richardson and Bowman 5. He has to live with the consequences of his actions, no matter how grim they appear. The narrator hangs Pluto when their relationship falls apart. Why is this purpose important or meaningful? He killed his cat and then desired another one; he felt poorly for his long-suffering wife but murdered her without a thought. His guilty conscience is the black cat, which has become a hideous abomination.

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The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

the black cat analysis

His love for animals ended here. The narrator began to despise this creature as well, and its excessive attention to him made him insensate with rage. The cat seems undeterred by his discomfort and shows him more and more affection. He felt no guilt, and he laughed at the fruitlessness of the investigation for his missing wife. He thought of the cat for months and came to wish that he had it back. It may be that he is trying to subtly manipulate the perspective of the reader or listener with an almost hypnotic-like suggestion that perhaps everything that happened was supernatural in origin. He forsakes the woman he loves—and eventually kills her because he can't break the hold of his destructive obsession.


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Literary Analysis Of The Black Cat

the black cat analysis

After some early pieces, Poe became famous in 1845 when he published ''The Raven,'' a poem that is still widely read today. The story shows how Poe struggles with his battle with alcohol and aggression, which ultimately lead him to destroy many things he loves. He claims that the alcohol is responsible for changing his personality, making him a bitter and angry person, when in actuality he is using booze to escape from his own reality. These themes include guilt, transformation, and supernatural phenomena. It is the part of wall above the head of the bed, and now has a crowd of people around it. The agony of the demons that triumph in the damnation has come back to haunt the narrator.

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Poe's Stories The Black Cat Summary & Analysis

the black cat analysis

Looking back through a course of events, the narrator describes his point of view allowing the reader to dive deeper into his thought process and psychological state. Finally, the white patch on the new cat's chest transforms into a gallows to taunt the protagonist. The narrator of "The Black Cat" tells us of his boyhood, which was easy. The black cat symbolizes the narrator's or Poe's alcoholism. A short while after this, the narrator is befriended by a black cat he finds in a local tavern, a cat that has shown up seemingly out of nowhere, and resembles Pluto in every respect, except that this cat has some white among its black fur. Going closer, the narrator realizes that within the wall, there is a shape in relief, of the murdered cat.

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The Black Cat Themes

the black cat analysis

The supernatural features in a lot of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, often because what people do not understand is more likely to frighten them. This turn of events is out of the ordinary — it is ironic. He buries the body of his wife and the second cat behind a wall and police later hear the cat calling out from inside the wall. Gale Literature Resource Center. The question is what causes the narrator to become a killer. The Divided Self The narrator experiences a fragmented, divided self.

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Analysis of "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

the black cat analysis

From his thoughts of anger and and his alcoholism problem that then lead him down the road to insanity which consumed him and became the most distorted character. Poe's use of themes, his unreliable narrator, and his use of Romantic literature tropes are both innovative and effective. Although the cat seems to recover from this, the narrator finds himself growing more irritated, until eventually he takes the poor cat out into the garden and hangs it from a tree. Whether Poe used alcohol as a symbol because of his own struggles with substance abuse is unclear, but it is a definite possibility. Poe was a highly influential writer who is often credited with popularizing the short story form in America. In "The Black Cat" the narrator declines from sanity to madness.

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'The Black Cat'—Plot, Symbols, Themes, and Key Quotes

the black cat analysis

Loneliness, death, torture and abnormal psychology are core elements in "The Black Cat" This thesis aims to conduct a research on how Allan Poe managed to achieve psychological horror in "The Black Cat. Even the relationships that should have been the central focus of his healthy and happy home fall victim to his deteriorating mental state. At the end of the story, he tells us that it was he who has walled up the cat. It has been repeatedly pointed out that the narrator loved his wife very deeply. One day, as he and his wife were going into the cellar, the cat nearly tripped him; he grabbed an axe to kill it, but his wife arrested the blow. It is an evocative tale of horror and violence that has captured audiences' imaginations.


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