Critical Interpretations of Poe's The Black Cat Essay example

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Critical Interpretations of Poe's The Black Cat

Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale, "The Black Cat," is a disturbing story that delves into the contrasts between reality and fantasy, insanity and logic, and life and death. To decipher one distinct meaning presented in this story undermines the brilliance of Poe's writing. Multiple meanings can be derived from "The Black Cat," which lends itself perfectly to many approaches of critical interpretation. One of the staples of Poe's writing is the dramatic effect it has on the reader. Poe is known for his masterful use of grotesque, and often morbid, story lines and for his self-destructive characters and their ill-fated intentions. "The Black Cat" is no different from any of his other
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The man replies with a reason almost as, if not more, disturbing than the act itself: it was done because he knew that it was wrong, because it was a sin that would jeopardize his immortal soul. Poe, though, has just begun to play on the emotions of the reader. Violent acts committed against animals are a sure way to offend some people, but a cold-blooded murder of one's spouse is an offense no one can ignore. Although the main character is vexed solely by the black cat and alcohol, his wife ultimately pays the greatest price. On a trip to the couple's cellar, the main character trips over the black cat and is entwined in a fit of rage. He raises an axe, preparing to deliver a fatal blow to the cat, but is thwarted by his wife. Still enraged the man thrusts the axe into his wife's brain. The brutality of this image is solely matched by the obvious absence of remorse of the man for his wife. His only concern is how to dispose of the body. The reader is thrown into the mind of a killer, who until this point has acted only in rage or insanity, but now has a moment of clarity as he weighs his options of how to dispose of his wife. Poe uses this moment of clarity to contrast for the reader the difference between an insane man and a calculating killer. The main character decides to bury his wife inside ones of the house's walls, which is eventually discovered by the authorities thanks to the ever-vengeful black cat. By the end of the story the

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