The Drive Towards Insanity Essay

1337 words - 5 pages

The descent into madness is never a pretty road to travel. The journey involves multiple paths which are staggered into twists, turns, a fork in the road, and sometimes a glimmer of hope before reaching complete insanity. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” is one such story of a man who has stepped fully into the realm of madness. The end result of the narrator’s actions due to his mental state involve the maltreatment of his beloved pets, the hanging of his prized cat, and the eventual murder of his caring wife. The protagonist begins the tale by reassuring the recipient of the letter that he is perfectly sane, and that the entire ordeal was not a dream by any means. Many figures in history and in fiction have stated the same claim while performing evil acts. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” shows one such character the Joker, played by Heath Ledger, who also claims to be perfectly sane while performing heinous crimes. He openly murders innocent civilians, causes destructive-mayhem, and openly tries to convert other characters into his cult of madness while believing himself to be fully sane. The Joker explains to Batman that “madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push” (Ledger). Poe uses carefully chosen language, flawless imagery, and gothic characteristics in “The Black Cat” to show that beneath every individual the drive toward insanity can explode into a reality.
Poe masterfully uses carefully chosen language to make the narrator seem like a regular human being with some destructive tendencies. He playfully suggests that each individual “himself [committed] a vile or silly action, for no reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination […] to violate that which is law merely because we understand it to be such?” The narrator claims that this is his reasoning for killing Pluto, his beloved cat. Like a beautifully written sonnet, Poe tries to reach out to the sympathetic side of people to save the life of the narrator who is in prison trying to plea for his life. Poe uses many skills of persuasion like repetition, consistency, and social proof to reinforce the sanity of the narrator. Harold Bloom, a sterling professor of the Humanities at Yale University and one of America’s leading literary critics, has commended Poe’s writing style by saying “Poe’s poetry produces […] a “magic” and is thus ascribed to the ingenuity of his versification, to his exceptional technical virtuosity” (Bloom 120). Bloom continues praise the “magnetism” that draws many literature enthusiasts to Poe’s short stories and poems. He also mentions that even the critics who review Poe’s work as unimportant, keep on doing so multiple times. Bloom goes on to state “it is by no means clear why anyone should take the trouble to write-at length-about a writer of no importance” (Bloom 122). Admirers and loathers of Poe’s work can agree that his carefully chosen language can invoke sympathy when talking about the...

Find Another Essay On The Drive Towards Insanity

coming through slaughter by Michael Ondaatje and she talks to Beethoven by suzan parks - Brooklyn College english 1012 - essay

1273 words - 6 pages for which they are composers. However, this composing process is a form of insanity because Suzanne’s drive to complete her diary led to the realm of insanity which caused her husband to leave and bring Beethoven in her life in order to complete her diary. “I knew he would console you while I was absent” (Kennedy 150). This response from David describes the need that Suzanne required in order to complete her diary about Beethoven. Unlike Suzanne

Comparing and Contrasting the Differences of Insanity, Automatism and Diminished Responsibility

1611 words - 6 pages under automatism, since their inability to reason arises from an external factor, namely the medication. The courts have moved away from the medical definition of insanity towards a legal definition. This is demonstrated by R v Sullivan , in which it was stated that 'any disease that affects the way the mind reasons, remembers or comprehends is a disease of the mind'. Therefore the disease needs to affect the functioning of the mind. There are two

Hamlet Essay

611 words - 2 pages of anger towards the situation. He felt that his mother was betraying his father by marrying his uncle. He was so upset about losing his father that he would have probably hated anyone his mother had married.One would think something that bothered Hamlet this much would eventually drive him mad but did it really? Hamlet was thought to have gone insane by Claudius and his fellow former schoolmates but was he actually as mad as he was perceived to

Insanity in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1742 words - 7 pages Yellow Wallpaper" is inevitable. Between society's view of women at that time, the husband's attitude towards her, and his ineffective remedies, the wife's mental instability can only grow worse. The wallpaper lets the reader follow the woman's regression into insanity as the story progresses. Only with the first person point of view (the wife's) can the reader follow this regression of the mind. All in all, this is a sad story of a woman's struggle for sanity in an indifferent society.

Macbeth, By. Shakespeare. Corrupt, Insane & Arrogance

1398 words - 6 pages The drive inside of you that gets you to go for a goal or achievements. Ambition, the gas in the car. You can consider ambition the drive train inside of you. Ambition can be good or bad. If you have a lot ambition your going to get want you are striving for, but if your goal is not for the good of heart, then things can go wrong. In William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, it shows a perfect example of ambition towards the wrong goal. Macbeth, the

An analysis of Act V scene i in Macbeth, focusing on the result of Lady Macbeth's ambition turned to madness

967 words - 4 pages Macbeth's unrestrained ambition results in her overwhelming guilt and madness, signified by her sleepwalking episode where she imagines an irremovable bloodstain on her hands in Act V scene i.Lady Macbeth's evil deeds drive her towards insanity where she sleepwalks, a symbol of her guilt and paranoia overtaking her feeble mind. It is ironic that Lady Macbeth cannot rid her pain and guilt through sleep in this scene, when in the banquet scene she

No Such Sanity

1318 words - 6 pages Going insane isn’t really going crazy is it? It’s technically just a different way of thinking. Not only is it thinking a different way, but also because our brains process differently than when we are sane. While insanity means doing the same thing, thinking it will change, and getting the same results, sanity is being sound of mind. Although sanity has an exact definition there is one question we must ask ourselves. What exactly

Edgar Allan Poe's Writing

2388 words - 10 pages the insanity of the narrator which forces him to kill. Poe becomes mad for many times in his life especially towards his foster father John Allan. One considered interpretation from Maria Bonaparte is that the character of the old man resembles the representation by its opposite of Poe’s relationship to his foster father. In the story, the narrator mentions that “every morning, when the day broke, [he] [goes] boldly into the chamber, and

Women in the 21st century

1079 words - 4 pages story was written by Gilman was to reveal the way mental illness was handled in the 19th century, reinforcing that over thinking and no communication with people can drive an individual towards madness. The patriarchal society in the “The Yellow Wallpaper” did the same by alienating the protagonist physically and mentally. William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", explains the acceptable responsibilities of women during the 19th century. Emily

Questioning Sanity And Insanity

2518 words - 10 pages Questioning sanity and insanity Medea: A 5th Century Play written by Euripides Is Medea sane? What is the difference between insanity and sanity? The pressing question is what can one consider sanity at all. Truly is anyone sane or insane or is it just how everyone views someone else to judge them accordingly, well lets suppose one could find out by taking a perspective look at Medea, the person herself and how she develops the role of what

The Masks of Hamlet

1317 words - 6 pages . Hamlet uses his craziness as a tool, changing insanity into the form of being witty, with clever word choice and actions. Furthermore, Hamlet only acts insane towards his enemies or their allies. One example, Hamlet attacks Ophelia, who is with Claudius, with words: "are you honest" (III.i.104), "are you fair" (III.i.106). Hamlet "speaks daggers" (III.ii.387) to Gertrude, because she is the only thing that separates Hamlet and Claudius. Also, when

Similar Essays

The Role Of Uncertainty In Poe's The Fall Of The House Of Usher. Uncertainty Leads To Suspense And Fear Which Drives Characters Towards Insanity And Causes Readers To Empathize With The Narrator

498 words - 2 pages living in the tomb!" (28). This uncertainty creates trepidation and fear for Usher because he fears Madeline "is...hurrying to upbraid [him] for [his] haste" in burying her; he becomes apprehensive and anxious at the sounds he hears in his house, not knowing if they are coming from the tombs. The fear and suspense that overcome Usher drives him towards insanity by overwhelming and consuming his life with hysteria and fear of everything

Macbeth Insanity Essay

966 words - 4 pages hinderances. Concisely, Macbeth’s brutal actions correspond to his ambitious drive and insanity, leading him towards a collapse. Macbeth is driven towards madness through the tragic flaw of ambition, facilitating his power to willingly construct and believe figments, which is illustrated by his visions. As Macbeth detects the knife afloat in the atmosphere, his aspiration furthers the belief that he can engine in actions to assassinate Duncan

Civil Commitment And The Mentally Ill

1271 words - 6 pages ). In this paper we will talk about the insanity statutes being used in the state of Georgia and how often the insanity defense is being used, and the major criticisms of the insanity defense. For many years the public has fought with the idea that a mentally ill person should not be held accountable for criminal crimes (Allnutt, S., Samuels, A., & O'Driscoll, C. 2007). In states Montana, Idaho, and Utah, does not consent for the defendant to plea

A Method To Madness Hamlet By William Shakespeare

731 words - 3 pages Ankita Mitra 8A #12Mrs CastagnaMarch 20, 2014A Method to MadnessPolonius's words, "Th8ough this be madness, yet there is method in't." (1) clearly show the reader that Hamlet simply feigned his insanity. William Shakespeare's parents gave birth to him in Stratford-upon-Avon in the sixteenth century. His son, Hamnet, died at the tender age of eleven years. This influenced the writing of Hamlet - one of the greatest revenge tragedies in literature