Psychoanalytical Analysis of "The Black Cat" Essay

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In Edgar Allen Poe's short story, The Black Cat, there is a lot of symbolism regarding hidden attributes of his life. The black cat itself represents not only a hidden meaning but a meaning the narrator wished to keep hidden. The black cat symbolizes the narrator's or Poe's alcoholism. Edgar Allen Poe has been accused of being an alcoholic throughout his life and it may have actually lead up to the cause of his death. The short story may give a subtle view at Poe's fight with the disease and the disease's eventual triumph. The black cat may not only be a symbol of the alcoholism that Poe faces but perhaps just his conscious in general regarding most anything deviant. The black cat, Pluto, is at first the narrator's friend. He…show more content…
His house burns down shortly after but he makes no connection between it and the hanging cat. He finds part of the house left unharmed by fire and sees an impression of a gigantic cat with a rope around its neck. He seeks a rational explanation for it but is ultimately haunted. This bit of the story could refer to Poe's "kicking the habit" only to have it catch back up to him. The addiction eats at his insides and follows him everywhere he goes. It could also represent his conscious in a way that, for whatever he has done, he has tried to kill his memory of it, but it never really dies because it lives within him. Nearing the end of the story, another car has appeared. This one looks very similar to Pluto, except it has a splash of white on its fur. Much like Pluto, the narrator takes a liking to this cat. While drunk one night, the narrator spots the cat on top of a barrel of alcohol. This may be the most discrete message in the story about how the cat symbolizes alcoholism. The new cat is treated much like Pluto and the same pattern occurs with him feeling hatred toward the cat. He trips over the cat and is set off into a fitted rage and moves to attack the cat with an axe. His wife, in an attempt to save the cat, jumps in front of it and the narrator then becomes outraged with her and smashes her in the face with the axe. The cat then disappears. The alcoholism in this

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