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The Black Cat by Edar Allan Poe Essay

The Black Cat is told from the perspective of a man (whom I imagine as Poe himself), who is a self- pronounced animal lover. The man and his wife have many pets, including a black cat named Pluto, who is very fond of the narrator. The cat and the narrator continue to have a close friendship until the man becomes an alcoholic. Coming home after having drunk, the narrator thinks the cat is avoiding him so he seizes it and the cat bites him. This angers the narrator and he gouges out one of the cat’s eyes.

Ever since then, the cat always avoids the narrator. At first, the narrator regrets his actions towards the cat, but soon he becomes perverse in his ways and hangs the cat in a tree out in the garden. The cat dies and the house mysteriously catches on fire forcing him, his wife, and his servant to flee from the house. When the narrator comes back to look at the ruins of his house, he finds the image of the cat, hung, imprinted on the one wall of the house that hadn’t fallen.

Later, the narrator finds a similar cat in a tavern. It is the same color and size as Pluto, and even has a missing eye. There is one difference is that this cat has a white patch of hair on its chest. The man takes it home, but begins to hate it. Some time later, the white patch begins to take the shape of the gallows. One day, in their new home, as the man and his wife visit their cellar, the cat gets under the narrators feet, and nearly trips him down the stairs. Because of this, the man tries to kill the cat with an axe. The wife stops him, and he kills her instead. In order to conceal her body, the narrator removes bricks from the wall, puts her body in the hole, and replaces the bricks. When the police come to investigate, they find nothing, and the man is allowed to go free. The cat is missing.

On the last day of the investigation, the man takes the police to the cellar, and they still find nothing. Overly confident in his safety, he comments on the sturdiness of the building, and raps on the wall that his wife was behind. Then a wailing sound fills the room, and the alarmed policemen tear down the wall, only to find the dead wife’s corpse, and sitting on her head, the black cat, screeching.


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