Most of Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems all contain similar topics. The work of Poe that we will be focusing on in this essay is The Black Cat'. This story portrays the distinctive Poe elements of death/murder, alcoholism, entombment, death of a loved one and hints of madness in the first person narration. In the following paragraphs these factors will be described using quotes and phrases from the tale.
The prevalence of alcoholism is evident in the story on several occasions. Not only does he speak of the disease, the narrator admits that he himself has fallen victim to the harsh reality of alcohol addiction. "But my disease grew upon me for what disease is like Alcohol." "I again plunged into excess and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed" referring that the alcohol has calmed his soul and guilty conscious regarding removing the cats' eye from its socket. In another instance the alcohol had caused him to go into an outrage and inflict the wound upon the cat, "Well intoxicated the furry of a demon instantly possessed me."
Entombment and death are an important element in the story as he buries his wife in the wall of the cellar and inadvertently entombs the cat also. "I had walled the monster up within the tomb". Poe's other typical style of writing deals with not only death but a severe and horrible death. It is apparent when the narrator states "I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree". "I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain."
Poe writes of madness and insanity in the first paragraph but he is trying to convince the reader that the narrator is not mad, "Yet mad I am not." He also goes on to say that he does not dream of the ordinary. " some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common place " The author also presents that no one will believe this story actually happened, "Mad indeed would I be to expect it".