Essay on A Comparison of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat

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A Comparison of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet and writer who is regarded as a master of the macabre, focusing on the horror genre with themes of death and insanity being explored throughout his work. Many traits of his main characters, such as the alcohol abuse of the protagonist in The Black Cat are borrowed from his own experiences, with the demons of drugs and alcohol eventually driving Poe to his death. His stories in general share the social setting of his own life, which was east-coast America in the mid-1800s, when at the time the distinct stoicism of the Victorian era was prevalent and insanity was a taboo subject - people who displayed an…show more content…
In The Tell-Tale Heart, we see the narrator describe his change from perfectly comfortable to extremely nervous as the supposedly "beating heart" haunts him. He says "Yet the sound increased - a low, dull, muffled sound - much such a sound a watch makes when enveloped in cotton" which references how he described the mans heartbeat as he killed him. Perhaps this was his own heartbeat, because the old man was obviously lifeless, and we were told at the start of the story how "dreadfully nervous" the narrator was. His nervousness caused him to come forward as the perpetrator because he could not handle the emotional challenge of concealing the body. In The Black Cat, it was by accident that the body was revealed to the police. The main character remarks, "this is a very well-constructed house", while rapping on the wall with a cane, causing the bricks to fall away. Right up until the revealing of the body, this man displays a stable state of mind to all around him. Neither man displays any remorse for the killings. The difference between the two murders is that in The Tell-Tale Heart, the murder does not come as a surprise. We are prepared from the start for what is going to happen, as he says "I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever". Poe's mastery is
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