The “We Don’t Know” Aspect of Doppelgängers
Edgar Allan Poe has always had a knack for psychologically freaking his readers out and making them believe everything he is writing. Our job as the reader is to break everything down and look for clues on how he writes. Doppelgangers are excellent clues. These funny little things can be used to make the reader second guess himself and make him wonder if he does actually know what is going on. This essay will outline four different short essays written by Poe, “The Black Cat,” “The Imp of the Perverse,” “Berenice,” and “The Tell Tale Heart” and explain instances of doppelgangers within them. First, we must have knowledge on what a doppelganger truly is. A doppelganger or doubleganger can be described as a ghostly double, or counterpart, of a living person. In most of Poe’s short fiction pieces, the doppelganger is likely to haunt its counterpart. This is what gets the reader so involved in what he’s reading, but Poe also writes his short fiction stories in the first person. This causes the reader to jump into the position of the narrator, making it easier for him to believe he is actually there in the story. So let’s break down four of Poe’s short fictions and pick out the doppelgangers. To begin, let’s dissect the first short fiction piece, “The Black Cat.” The beginning of this particular story introduces the narrator’s so called “love” for his animals. His favorite, a black cat named Pluto. However, many nights the narrator would return home in a drunken stupor and one intoxicated evening, the narrator had the notion that Pluto was trying to hide from him and he became angry: I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my...
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