The Black Cat

1018 Words5 Pages
Black cats have historically represented witchcraft, bad luck, and death in many parts of the world. In “The Black Cat”, Pluto held the place of one of the narrator’s most beloved pets until the animal grows frightened. The narrator ends up cutting Pluto’s eye out causing him to become half blind, and eventually kills Pluto. Shortly after this, the narrator becomes haunted by a feline that looks similar to Pluto. The only difference between Pluto and the second cat is the second feline has a white mark on his neck. In “The Black Cat”, the feline Pluto represents the underworld, narcissism, and mental instability.
Pluto’s name in Greek mythology means ‘God of the underworld,’ which is how Pluto represents both the former and the latter. Hades is known as the God of the underworld. Hades and Pluto are both mistreated individuals, which thus leading to the general consensus that their common experiences are what prompts them to start mistreating others. The cat appears to hold a dark and evil part in the story. Traditionally, black cats are representative of evil, black magic and are often kept as “familiars” or protectors of witches in Wiccan society. Pluto is a black cat, and black cats have historically been perceived as vastly more wicked than others. As Benjamin Fisher states in his literary analysis, “…black cats are unpredictable, but usually evil creatures…” (Fisher, 86). Pluto, as well as the second cat begins to torture the narrator. Slowly, the situation unfolds into a more heinous fate for the cat as well as the narrator.
The narcissism of the narrator contributes to the overall darkness of the story and is largely conclusive to the dark and the underlying malevolence of Poe’s own conscience. The cat in “The...

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...luto represents the underworld, self-indulgence, and insanity.

Works Cited

Atsma, Aaron J. "HADES : Greek King of the Underworld, God of the Dead ; Mythology ; Pictures : HAIDES, PLUTO." HADES : Greek King of the Underworld, God of the Dead ; Mythology ; Pictures : HAIDES, PLUTO. Aaron J. Atsma, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
Buranelli, Vincent. Edgar Allen Poe. N.p.: n.p., 1961. Print.
Frye, Steven. Critical Insights: The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2010. Print.
Fisher, Benjamin F. The Campridge Introduction to Edger Allen Poe. New York: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.
Gill, N. S. "Pluto - The Roman and Greek God Pluto." Ancient / Classical History. N.S. Gill, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
WING-CHI KI, MAGDALEN. "Diabolical Evil And "The Black Cat.." Mississippi Quarterly 62.3/4 (2009): 569-589. Literary Reference Center. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
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