The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe Summary
The Black Cat is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe and it portrays the ability of the human mind to assess itself. The narrator in the story realizes his deteriorating mental condition and accepts the he needs to do something about it before it is too late. The story revolves around guilt psychology and around a murderer who commits a crime and is able to conceal his crime. However, the guilt feeling resulting from the crime pushes him to the edge and he reveals himself. This paper will look at the theme of violence as contained in the story.
At the beginning of the story, the narrator lived happily with his pet cat and wife. Life seemed to go on smoothly apart from minor incidences here and there. However, things begun changing when the narrator started taking alcohol (Levine &Susan 23). The unnamed narrator says that says that he started by getting easily irritated even when around close friends. The narrator started by being verbally abusive towards his wife every time they would have an argument. However, this did not last long and he started abusing his wife physically.
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It was not his wife only who was subjected to violence by the narrator, but also his beloved cat. In the beginning, the narrator loved the cat so much and spent majority of his time pampering it. The narrator starts his violence towards animals by hanging his first cat, Pluto, after coming home drunk. Soon after, another cat came to live with him, he also mistreats it (Silverman 29). The theme of violence in the story climaxes when narrator kills his wife out of range. One point worth noting is that the narrator blames his violent act on alcoholism.
When he was not drunk, he was a caring and gentle person who treated people and animals with tenderness. However, it is worth pointing out that towards the end of the story, the narrator no longer blames his violent acts on alcohol but instead he blames on some supernatural power that grabbed him whenever he was drunk. It was not his wife and cats that experienced violence from the narrator but other animals as well (Levine &Susan 18).
These animals included dogs, apes, and even donkeys. The theme of violence is also portrayed when the narrator, realizing his mistake, turned on himself and started harming himself using the knife that he always carried with him.
The other theme in the story is that of loyalty. Before the narrator started drinking, he was loyal to his wife and pet cat, Pluto. The theme of loyalty is also shown when the narrator gorges out the eye of his cat. Despite the fact that his wife saw the kind of cruelty he had subjected the cat to, he still remained loyal to him.
Additionally, the theme of loyalty is portrayed by the cat itself. After the narrator gouged out the eye of the cat, the cat still played with the narrator after the eye socked of the gouged eye had healed. Under normal circumstances, the cat would have fled the home and relocated to another house away from the brutality.