Aspects Of The Narrator In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”



Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” is a perverse grotesque short story. What makes this tale so horrific is how Poe has created an unreliable, and nameless, narrator to tell this story. Telling this story from the first person point of view intensifies the shock and horror, which stops short of “the wavering line of disgust” (Womack 1).
The narrator’s unreliability is born from three major influences. His biggest influence is mostly due to his battles with “…the [f]iend [i]ntemperance” (Poe 894). This relationship with alcohol allows his behavior to weave from docile to demonic, in smooth succession. The fact that he is telling this story in flashbacks, as he awaits his execution, is ...

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the narrator into a demon like creature, and because this downfall is so very relevant to many of our own society problems, the story takes on an eerie, human reality twist. Slowly, over time, his personality alters from once a loving, caring, and nurturing man, into a mad, spontaneous killer. It is while the narrator is intoxicated that he inflicts the cruelest acts of violence on his cat because “…the fury of the demon [alcohol] instantly possessed [him]” (Poe 894).
From the alcohol, perverseness provides the rational for otherwise unjustifiable acts, such as killing the first cat, and yet at times the narrator feels quick and minute pangs of guilt.
Although he seems to fully recall all his past events with such persistent effort, it must be remembered that the narrator is nothing more than an alcoholic, who has a distorted view of reality. This distorted view of reality that the narrator possesses is only intensified by the fact that he is recalling these events from memory. ...

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Added: 8/27/2006 02:24:05 AM
Category: Book Reports
Words: 729
Pages: 3

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