Doppel Daenger and Female Gothic in The Black Cat

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Doppel Daenger and Female Gothic in The Black Cat

"Doppel daenger" - the perilous thought that has been perpetually occupying the minds of many scholars - originates from the German language. By definition, this phrase translates to the existence of one's double - the concept of someone else independently existing with an equal identity to another individual he/she closely resembles. The idea of shared identity prevails in the genre of Gothic Literature, especially as a counter part of the female Gothic and predominantly in the great American all time author, Edgar Allan Poe's literary works. By the same token, the category of the Gothic genre called female Gothic entails both female authorship and emphasis on psychological depth. Thus, Poe takes the two literary devices and in attempt of fusing them together for the purposes of creating a more complex plot, the author delves in the issue of the contribution and purpose of double characters to the Gothic plot.

As Poe uses double characters as a literary device, interwoven with the use of female Gothic, in order to create an intricate and perplexing plot he also sets the foundations for an astonishing paradoxical situation. Most often, the engagement of a double figure plays a constructive role in respect to the plot thus expanding and embellishing the plot (not necessarily to the better), and a destructive role in respect to the revelation whose unhappy outcome contributes to the Gothic genre.

On the beginning of the story "The Black Cat," Poe introduces the "remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree" and then immediately ventures to remark on the "ancient popular notion which regarded all black cats ...

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...rwoven interrelations between the female Gothic and the double character device. In "The Black Cat," both the stoic black cat and its double entice the perplexing double and the female Gothic principles. Consequently, with the use of the two devices, and through an intricate plot the author forces the main character to self-destruction: "the evil creature left me no moment alone...the thing upon my face, and its vast weight...incumbent eternally upon my heart" (326). This thought lingers with the narrator and haunts him till the end of his torment. "It is the Gothic's special vocation to incarnate this paradoxical doubling of being/non-being, i.e. existing throughout the majority of the story in order to self-destruction" (Web source 4).

Works Cited and Consulted

"Triangle Journals - Women's Writing": http://www.triangle.co.uk/wow/wow-03bi.htm
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