Paranoia In The Black Cat By Edgar Allan Poe

1858 Words4 Pages

To be driven mad by sheer paranoia is nothing short of the many themes Poe depicts within his stories. Within “The Black Cat” there are many elements that can be taken differently to the reader. With the Narrator suffering from severe alcoholism we see him continuously getting more ill throughout the story, up until the point he murders his wife. Which it can be theorized that the narrator’s sort of subconscious jealousy of his wife was the underlying cause for his wrongful actions towards the cat Pluto. This caused his heavy paranoia to come too, eventually turning to schizophrenia.
Edgar Allan Poe had a difficult life not only as a child but also as an adult. Poe “was left as an orphan at an early age. He was then informally adopted by John …show more content…

He states early on that he “was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets.” (Poe, 435) This also followed him into his adulthood. So that he and his wife eventually ended up owning “birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.” (Poe, 435) This large black cat, whom is named Pluto, happens to be his favorite out of all his pets. Keeping him to a higher standard than all of his other pets. The narrator even mentions that when his down fall with alcoholism started happening he would say terrible things to his wife. With his pets he “not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him.” (Poe, 435) Thus proving his love and desire for Pluto. Although after one night of drinking the narrator came home wanting to spend time with his beloved cat, only to be avoided in return. So he then decided to seize the cat, causing him to be bitten. At that very moment his good nature towards Pluto came to a halt. The narrator then goes to explain his terrible deed that he had done “I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast be the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!” (Poe, …show more content…

As his drinking increased it changed his behavior, he used to be such gentle man with compassion for his pets and a wonderful equal of a wife. Though once he had too much to drink he would go and abuse his animals along with verbally attacking his wife. As he grew more into a monster she stayed the same as she ever was, a woman of “high degree, that humanity of feeling” (Poe, 437) which had been one of his greatest traits. This could have been his subconscious source of internal struggles and the “fury of a demon” (Poe, 435) as he tends to put it. It would seem that he was infatuated with the new cat, of how it warmed up to him so quickly and the similarities between it and Pluto. That is until he brings it home and it “became immediately a great favorite with my wife.” (Poe, 437) At this point he begins to dislike the cat, and with every attempt it would make to show affection toward him it would grow more and more into hatred. This is until he suffers from nightmares and hallucinations with the cat’s appearance, resembling the gouged eye of Pluto and of the noose he hung him with. Though once the unfaithful moment comes when he has “a rage more than demonical” (Poe, 438) he murders his wife with the axe meant for the cat. After the fatal blow it seems he suffers no remorse for what he had done. In fact he puts that he had accomplished the

Open Document