Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

2359 words - 9 pages

Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" is a story of how an arguably demonic, manipulating black cat ruins the life of its master. After being maimed and murdered by its once loving owner, the cat is reincarnated and finds its way back to its murderer to seek revenge. The story, however, does not focus so much on the actions of the cat, but rather the actions of its unfortunate master. The story is narrated from the point of view of a condemned, remorseful man who recalls the violent actions that placed him in his current doomed state. When we first meet the narrator, we find that he held an undying affection for animals in his youth and early adulthood. He slowly changes, however, for the worse, into a man capable of the most hideous of crimes. He, in remembering the atrocities, feels a sorrowful, and truthful regret for his past actions and feelings, or lack thereof. The narrator, however, did not always feel this sense of regret and remorse. In "The Black Cat," the narrator gradually morphs from a mild, affectionate person in his youth and beginning adulthood, to a monstrous man who is capable of committing and covering up murder. The change of the narrator can be seen in three phases: his childhood love and need for affection from animals, his drunken violence toward his wife and pets, and in his neglect for all human virtue in the murder of his wife and attempt to hide his wrongs.
At the beginning of "The Black Cat," we learn that, in his youth and early adulthood, the narrator was a caring and compassionate person toward all living things. In fact, his prime joys in life where taking part in the seemingly obligating tasks of feeding and caring for his animals. The narrator held a deep love for his animals and "never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them"(522). He prefers spending time with his pets rather than spending time with other people possibly because his pets showed love in return. Even when he would occupy his time with others he stated they would "make [him] the jest"(522) because of his overly tender heart. This tenderness and compassion carried well into his adulthood and he even found room in his heart for a wife. He was very pleased to find his wife early in life but was even more pleased to find that she complied with his love of animals. She adorned him with animals "of the most agreeable kind"(522) ranging from exotic monkeys to common dogs and cats. He loved all his pets and his wife with all of his heart, but his heart would eventually prove too weak to accommodate all the love he held in it. ...

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