The False Account of the Black Cat

1824 Words8 Pages
The short story “The Black Cat,” by Edgar Allen Poe, plays off the fear and trepidation of readers by sharing the details of a horrific murder through the killer’s point of view. However, several details in the story, such as the decay of the body, the police’s presence, and the appearance of a second cat, allude to the idea that the tale may in fact not be true, and cause the reader to doubt the reliability of the narrator. By implying that the narrator is indeed lying, Poe puts into question the sanity of the speaker, while also suggesting the need of a scape goat, in a second cat, to retain innocence. Poe tries to invoke the fear within the reader by creating a very insightful description of the narrator’s wife’s dead body, buried in…show more content…
Having explained the figure on the wall by saying that he killed Pluto, he is now compelled to explain the continuing presences of the supposedly dead cat. The only possible way is to try to pass this cat off as a new one. The title of the story tells us the truth. There are not two black cats; there is only Pluto: the black cat” (Amper, 482). With this new argument, Amper supplies the narrator with a sense of preservation. I think that, as he awaits his sentence to be carried out, the narrator wants someone, anyone, to believe in his supposed innocence. It is human nature for the narrator to want to be believed, and also to preserve his reliability in his final hours. If his story were proved to be false, his image as a dependable story-teller would be shattered. This means covering up his wife’s actual time of death with the death of Pluto. If the narrator can pass of the time of his wife’s death for when he depicts in the story, he can also blame the entire even on the anger he felt towards the second cat. An outside party can better understand a crime of passion, rather than a premeditated act of hatred and evil. But then there is a black cat, one black cat that is seen by the police at the end of the story. The only logical explanation would be that this cat is the real Pluto, the cat that was “killed” earlier in the narrative. All these mind-boggling details lead to the only plausible explanation: in order to preserve his
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