Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat, much like many of his other stories, is a tale of inexplicable violence and perverseness, and yet it is an amazing insight into the mind’s ability to observe itself and even give itself away, as evidenced in end of the tale of the narrator. Indeed, even the narrator himself is aware of this fact that he is going insane somehow, and even with this knowledge and the knowledge that he continues to proceed in his insanity it’s not enough to stop his descent.
The narrator takes time and details each aspect of his madness, in a sense observing his actions from a detached perspective, even though the story is written in the first person, like a psychiatrist. There is however a tinge of awareness and perhaps some sense of guilt in how the narrator conveys the story. Much of his actions make no sense and seem to have no logical intent, and perhaps that is what Poe tries to convey when the narrator describes and his actions in the word, “PERVERSENESS.”
One interesting note is that the narrator defends himself in the very beginning with “Yet, mad am I not—” and yet he begins to logically process his reactions with, “have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me.” Thus, in the very act of saying he isn’t mad, and then by logically outlining his guilt, he shows his own descent into madness and his objectivity throughout the process, questioning whether the narrator feels guilty at all or not.
After The Black Cat begins with the narrator’s description of his character and defense, he then proceeds to narrate the story almost like a confession. He and his wife had many animals, but among all of them his favorite was Pluto, a black cat. The cat’s name seems to be an allusion to a god of the underworld and one who control witches, an idea further strengthened by the narrator’s wife’s belief that black cats are really witches. More importantly, since the cat is often believed to have nine lives, this inference is certainly pertinent to...
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