Edgar Allen Poe Thematic Analysis

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart, Short story Pages: 2 (856 words) Published: December 20, 2011
In many of his short stories, Edgar Allan Poe uses a single eye as a symbol. The narrators in his stories often experience an intense abomination towards the eye of a particular character. Usually the object of pursuit, the eye ignites a violent reaction within the narrator who feels the need to destroy it. The symbol of a single eye is identified several times throughout Poe’s literature and each time provides a deeper insight into his characters. The symbolization of the eye leads to the reveal of the psyche and soul, an exposure that leaves Poe’s characters feeling uncomfortable and revealed. In “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, eyes are used as symbols to identify that the eyes are the windows to the soul. In “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator acts violently towards his cat for no particular reason. Although the narrator doesn’t state why, he always seems to be drawn to the cat’s eye in a negative way. The first incident in which the narrator abuses the cat is when it doesn’t react to his rage and looks into his eyes without fear. The narrator is extremely disturbed by the cat’s presence and deliberately tries to cut out its eye. “I fancied that the cat avoided my presence…I took from my waist-coat pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!” (Poe 13). The narrator’s intention of violence is solely because of the cat’s eye, and ridding himself of it is his only desire. The fact that the narrator has such a reaction towards the eye shows that he feels a great deal of vexation and uneasiness towards it. When the cat looks him in the eye, it triggers a feeling of vulnerability within the narrator. He hates that the cat is able to look him in the eyes, causing him to feel like the cat can see “through” him. Poe identifies the theme that the eyes are the windows to the soul because the cat had been able to look into the narrator’s own eyes...
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