Edgar Allan Poe The Black Cat
The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator, never being identified, states that he is sane. He goes on to say that he is kind and respects the fidelity of friendship. He claims he loves pets and likes to hang out with them. The pets in his house include “birds, goldfish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat”. Pluto ,the cat, of all pets was the narrator’s favorite. The narrator has a lot of conscious and unconscious feelings that motivate him to behave as he does in the story.
He does not really understand all of these motivations, his own behaviors, or the psychological basis for the reasoning of his actions. After reading further, there were many questions that arose in my mind. The most prevalent of all the questions were how much can be rationally explained? And are superstitions real? After reading the title the first thing that came to mind was the black cat superstition. Cats have always held a variety of notions among all cultures, especially a black cat. The majority of humans have always associated black cats with something bad or evil.
I myself have always believed that the superstitions following black cats are Just a hoax believed by the naive. The story converts and is full of surprises and heinous crimes committed by the narrator when the narrator develops addiction to alcohol. At one point he referred to his addiction to alcohol as ” fiend intemperance”, translating into demonic/wicked level of alcoholism. Due to the changes brought about in his disposition, by his new habit, his pets started to avoid and ignore him, and like most alcoholics I have seen nd heard about he started to abuse his wife and his marital life started to disintegrate.
The fact that all his pets ignored and avoided him including his beloved cat made him so furious that he cut one of the cat’s eyes from the socket, which I believe made the cat seem betrayed, ergo the cat avoiding the narrator and eventually causing its death. Not long after that heinous crime he was unable to bear the burden of his so called ” docile and humane” nature which had transformed him into an alcoholic abuser. To me because of his way of perverseness, he made the eviant choice of hanging his cat Pluto from a tree and killing him even though he knew it was wrong.
I think the narrator is the person to blame for the events in the story. Without his actions nothing bad would have happened to his cat, his wife, or himself. Everything he did had a consequence. He was a drunk so he became violent. When he became violent he abused his animals and his wife. When he abused his wife and animals they distanced themselves from him. When they distanced themselves from him he became irritated and he became violent again. When he became violent again he continued to consume alcohol. When he continued to consume alcohol he commited the crime of murder, and so on and so forth.
The narrator’s habit and perverseness were the cause of his destruction. On that very night his house burned to the ground, leaving him poor. The only things remaining were rubble and a solitary wall holding an image of a cat like creature similar to the recently murdered Pluto. He was unable to differentiate if this himself by putting together a story of what happened which was ” Upon the alarm of ire, the garden had been immediately filled by the crowd –by someone of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber.
This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which, had then with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, accomplished the portraiture as I saw it. ” Not to long after the murder of Pluto and his house burning down the narrator finds himself a second cat. Greatly similar to Pluto in almost every characteristic but a area with white fur around the chest.
The Narrator’s wife also pointed out that the cat “had been deprived of one eye. ” Again because of the constant reminder of what he had done to Pluto, the narrator seems to get agitated by the site of the new cat. He tries to kill the cat with his axe because he accidentally triped over it, but in this case, the wife stops him, now with almost a psychopathic mentality, the narrator buries the axe in his wifes brain and then proceeds to bury her inside the cellar’s wall. He nknowingly buries the second cat, whom is still alive, with dead wifes corpse.
The police show up unexpectedly to the house to investigate the narrators wifes disappearance, and in a subtle way the narrator admits to his crime by bragging about how excellently well constructed his house is, and began tapping the portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of his wife. Soon there after was a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream. The police then ran to the wall and egan tolling away at it revealing the lifeless decaying body of the narrators wife, and the second cat sitting victoriously on its head.
I do not believe that the cat was a supernatural being that caused the narrator to go mad. I think the things that happened that made the cat look supernatural such as the enlarged portrait of the cat being hung on the remaining wall of the narrators burned down house was Just a coinsedence. The narrator went mad because he was a paronoid alcoholic, he had psychological issues, and his feelings and behaviors about the things and people around him were not correct.