“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is one of Poe’s greatest literary works that embodies his signature themes of death, violence, and darkness. Poe’s main character begins his narration of his horrible wrongdoings regarding them as a “series of mere household events” (Poe 705). However, this is where Poe’s satire and irony begins and the story progresses to show the deranged mindset of this character as he tries to justify his actions. As the main character proceeds to rationalize his crime, Poe is able to convey a sense of irony through his use of foreshadowing, metaphors and symbolism.
Irony begins within the narrator’s introduction to his confession by telling the reader that he will tell his story but “without comment” (Poe 705). Within this same ironic tone, the narrator continues to humanize his actions and plea for justification but predicts that what he has already done has destroyed him. Poe describes how "these events have terrified--have tortured--have destroyed" him (Poe 705). Poe adds an ironic tone to the story by telling it through the narrator’s perspective. The narrator is a demented individual and the average reader cannot relate to the evil that has erupted inside him. As he begins to rationalize, there is a vast difference between the narrator and the reader leading to the irony that the man feels that this was all a normal series of misfortune.
Literary critic, Richard Badenhausen, explains Poe’s decision for telling the story from the narrator’s point-of-view, “Despite pledging to tell his tale "without comment," the narrator is constantly qualifying, correcting, and explaining, in the hope that the audience will see events from his perspective. Although he ironically announces in the opening sentence that he "neither expect[s] nor solicit[s] belief" the narrator is obsessively concerned with both activities: he hopes for understanding from his listeners and energetically pursues approval by employing... [continues]
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