Home > Free Essays > Literature > American Literature > Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”

Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” Essay (Review)

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jun 11th, 2022

Is it possible to embody the pangs of remorse, terrible sufferings of a soul, mysticism, and all-devouring abyss of evil with the help of words committed to paper? If there is a person endowed by this gift, it is Allan Edgar Poe. Rightful and recognized master of literary horror, Poe has a unique skill of sending shivers down readers’ spine with his awfully realistic depiction of evil and human doom. The Black Cat is a story that presents the author’s formula of destructive power of the sense of guilt combined with human perversity awakened by alcohol addiction with the help of Poe’s unique rhetoric.

The Black Cat is a story of moral decay of the narrator who is lucky to have a happy marriage and a lot of pets, Pluto the cat, “[the narrator’s] favorite pet and playmate” (Poe 249) among them. However, narrator’s kind personality is gradually destroyed by alcohol abuse leading to domestic violence. The starting point of the “succession of very natural causes and effects” (Poe 249) that leads to the narrator’s appearance in a death cell is the change of relationship with Pluto that starts to avoid its master. Such conduct plants the seeds of “PERVERSENESS” (Poe 250) in the narrator’s soul that leads to deliberate putting out the cat’s eye and succeeding hanging of the pet. The tragedy is followed by a sudden burning of the house, mysterious appearance of the cat’s figure on the only wall that remained of the house. There appears one more cat that has a striking resemblance to Pluto. This time, the narrator’s anger leads to the murder of his wife during an attempt of killing the cat. Finally, the murder is revealed due to the cat, though the corpse is hidden in the wall.

The narrator of the story performs the role of the main rhetorical device that ensures the disclosure of the main theme of the story. The narrator can be called an unreliable narrator as he states at the very beginning that he is considered mad though he is not mad and his story is not a nightmare. At the same time, a reader can easily conclude that the man really becomes mentally unstable due to alcohol addiction that awakens aggression, fatalism, and superstitiousness in the author’s soul. A picturesque fact that contributes to overall horror of the story is that Poe puts “much of himself in the story” (Poe et al. 848). Everyone knows about the author’s alcohol addiction and an autobiographic fact of killing a pet belonging to Poe’s foster mother is also known (Poe et al. 848).

Along with the narrator, symbols play a major role in the creation of horror of the story. In fact, The Black Cat abounds in symbols. The black cat itself can be considered one of the major symbols that can be interpreted as fate, revenge, witchcraft. There is an interesting idea that a black cat is a symbol of slavery (Peeples 104). Even the name of the pet, Pluto, is symbolic since it is an allusion to the Roman God of the Underworld who punishes sinners. Besides, the picturesque symbol is gallows that is an instrument of slaughter and the symbol of coming revenge.

In conclusion, it is possible to state that the perfect choice of the narrator and the use of symbols create the horrific magic of The Black Cat. Alcohol addiction is condemned by the author as the source of endless evil. Sense of guilt is presented as the torture and destructive power as the same time.

Works Cited

Peeples, Scott. The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe. USA: Camden House, 2007.

Poe, Edgar Allan, Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, Kewer, Eleanor D., and Maureen Cobb Mabbott. Tales and Sketches: 1843-1849. USA: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Black Cat.” Thirty-two Stories. Ed. Stuart Levine and Susan Levin. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 2000. 248-256.

This essay on Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, June 11). Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat". https://ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, June 11). Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/

Work Cited

"Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"." IvyPanda, 11 June 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/.

1. IvyPanda. "Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"." June 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"." June 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"." June 11, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/edgar-poes-the-black-cat-review/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Narration and Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat"'. 11 June.

Powered by CiteTotal, best reference maker
More related papers