The Narrator's Guiltless Existence in Edgar Allan Poe's Short Story, The Black Cat

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In the short story “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe the reader is led onto a journey in which they are told the gruesome actions of a disturbed narrator. This subjective narrators' actions are spurred by a heavy alcohol addiction and deteriorating mental state. The narrator tells the reader of his deeds,which ultimately led to his demise, starting with the killing of Pluto. Pluto was the household cat of the narrator and his wife. He was very much cared and adored for but one night after returning home “much intoxicated” the narrator carved one of the poor beasts eyes after he upset him. After that event a disagreeable mood leeches onto the narrator and he decides to hang the pet using a noose and attaches it onto the limb of a tree . A…show more content…
The fact is that the way the narrator starts off the story, by describing himself in an overly immaculate way, leads one to the assumption that he is unreliable. However, if he was not as pure of heart from his youth as he insists then the explanation must be that the potential to be evil was contained within the narrator from the day he was born. Indeed, what Edgar Allen Poe was trying to illustrate in the “Black Cat” is that the potential to get to a point where conscience doesn't exist lies within each and every one of us. With this in mind, an aggressor was needed for that evil potential to be realized and in this case alcohol and the spirit of perverseness would assist the narrator in fulfilling it. There is no doubt in the fact that alcohol encouraged the violence within the narrator. After returning home one night “Much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town” the narrator reveals, for the first time, his evil potential spurred on by alcohol through the action of cutting out Pluto's eye. This was the consequence of nothing more then the narrators besotted fancy that Pluto was avoiding his presence. After that gruesome deed he did however feel remorse but it was not sincere. “ I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime which I had been guilty, but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched” (Poe 224). As the narrator

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