The Importance Of Inhumanity In Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

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A master of the human psyche with the ability to dissect it down to its most basic form, Edgar Allan Poe left the world with some of the darkest, most tortured characters in literature. His characters are not innately evil, or live with the intent to cause harm but instead are people that are living a seemingly normal life. Poe was able to tap into the human condition through characters who took their inner darkness to their chilling end. His stories and characters within them are fascinatingly removed from the lives of the ordinary man but with enough links to engage the reader to question the humanity (or inhumanity) in all of us. Poe’s The Black Cat (1843) takes the reader on such a journey, with a conclusion that leaves the reader confused and questioning how easily a person could fall so deeply into inhumanity under the simple influence of alcohol. An unnamed narrator opens the story only referring to himself as “I” and is attempting to chronicle the events that led to his imprisonment and impending death. Presenting himself as a shy, passive, introverted child whose former self would never have been found in jail “From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition”(695), and who was fonder of animals then people…show more content…
This need to maintain a subtle interaction with the outside world is further developed when he marries a woman of the same temperament. His ability to only have seemingly close relationships with animals becomes more complicated with the adoption of Pluto, a black cat. The choice of Pluto for a name is symbolic in itself, referring to the underworld and his black coloring, both foreshadow the chaos that is about to engulf this man, who is unprepared to deal with mental break down he is about to experience as his mind becomes compromised by his increasing dependence on

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