Gothicism, a style of writing that developed from Romanticism, is evident today in many literary mediums such as novels and movies, but it had its origins centuries earlier with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto in 1765 (Melani, 2002). The gothic novel was written to thrill and terrify readers with eerie settings and supernatural events. This genre would come to influence one of America’s most iconic authors and the father of the American short story: Edgar Allen Poe. The influence of the Gothic tradition in the works of Edgar Allen Poe, especially in “The Black Cat” and “The Cask of Amontillado” is evident through his use of eerie settings, horror/terror, development of the main character, and common themes seen throughout his work.
One…show more content… The narrator of “The Black Act” admits to two particularly horrendous acts: the hanging of his cat, Pluto, and his wife. Having undergone violent personality changes due to alcoholism, the narrator cuts out Pluto’s eyes out of rage and delighting in it, stating “my original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame” (Poe 13). Additionally, he later murders his wife when she tries to protect the couple’s second cat, his thoughts immediately turning to hiding her body without much remorse. In “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montressor commits a terrifying act by beginning to wall up Fortunato to die, creating a sense of dread for what may come next. Finally, when he goes through with his horrifying plan and leaves Fortunato with no means of escape, the reader is horrified by his heartlessness. Poe even adds descriptions to appeal to the reader’s sympathy such as “....a succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back….” (Poe, 286). By including such heinous actions in his stories, Poe is able to effectively frighten and shock the