Wife Beatinging In Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

Decent Essays

Wife beating is an act that is entirely intolerable and scrutinized by all members of society, the law, and essentially by those who are beaten by their husband or significant other. However, during the era of the 19th century, the United States was in a low point, by today’s standards, when it comes to the abuse and mistreatment of the wife. As men were treated higher up in societal standards, women were treated as lesser members of society when it amounts to the marriage of man and wife. During most of this century, women gave up their abilities to “fight in court against their husband” due to their legal status merging with their spouse; furthermore, this allows the husband ability to verbally and physically abuse their spouse to an extent known in this period as “chastisement” (Reva Siegel). Not only was this acceptable in the terms of society but as well as the law; men were “masters of the household” and were allowed by law to give “corporal punishment” to their wife to establish and maintain “domestic harmony.” The socio-legal vulnerability of wives to domestic violence was to an extreme and was more common among the lower-class citizens of society. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” (1843) thematically posits two causes of wife-beating in early 19th century America: male intemperance and male patriarchal insecurity. One example of wife-beating in early 19th century America thematically posited in Poe’s “The Black Cat” (1834) is male intemperance. During the early

Get Access