The Black Cat Analysis Essay

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Edgar Allen Poe is well-known for having characters and narrators in his story that are insane like he has in “The Black Cat.” Gothic scholar Jerrold Hogle has stated, “No other form of writing or theatre is as insistent as Gothic on juxtaposing potential revolution and possible reaction - about gender, sexuality, race, class, the colonizers versus the colonized, the physical versus the metaphysical, and abnormal versus normal psychology - and leaving both extremes sharply before us and far less resolved than the conventional endings in most of these works claim them to be.” The short story explores the extremes of abnormal versus normal psychology through the influence of the supernatural, and the development of a psychosis in the narrator…show more content…
Supernatural elements in “The Black Cat” are key indicators of the narrator’s abnormal psyche. From the get-go, the narrator states, “FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief,” indicating that he does not expect the audience to believe his story. From the events and encounters with the supernatural that he describes, it is obvious why he thinks no one will believe his story. Most normal people operating under a normal state of mind do not believe in the supernatural. The narrator acts and speaks in a frantic manner throughout the piece. He seems desperate for someone to believe his claims about his superstitions and his encounters with the supernatural. Poe incorporates many elements of the supernatural in the story, the most prominent being the black cat Pluto. Pluto is a representation for many supernatural elements. The beginning of the story mentions that the narrator’s wife is concerned with the color of Pluto because black cats are associated with witchcraft. “My wife, who at heart was not a little…show more content…
Poe begins the piece with the audience doubting the narrator. One instance where the narrator indicates his mental state is when he says “My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body.” This is of course not possible. Souls are imaginary. The narrator knows he sounds insane, and that thought most likely upsets him. Throughout the piece the narrator thoughts become more jumbled and frantic. This can be indicated by the dashes in the story. The dashes become more frequent near the end of the piece when he is truly losing his mind. Another claim the narrator makes is about the supernatural. He sees pictures on the walls of his burnt house and an image of the gallows on the second cat. Part of his insanity could be attributed to guilt. The second cat and the “rope about the animal’s neck” displayed with “marvellous” accuracy was a projection of guilt from the narrator. Even when he said he felt no remorse for killing Pluto, the reader can infer that the narrator is projecting his guilt onto the second cat. His “guilt” in the form of the second cat in turn is driving him mad. The guilt may be eating away at the narrator, yet he continues to claim that he feels nothing. However, the narrator is a narcissist and will not admit he feels guilt. Poe indicates in the story that the narrator’s internal struggle worsens as he becomes “more moody, more
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