Insanity In The Black Cat By Edgar Allan Poe

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It is said that crime doesn’t pay, but it can punish. Society often comes to the false conclusion that if a criminal is not prosecuted under the law, then they do not receive any punishment. But this is not true. The inescapable suffering trapped inside a wrongdoer can cause more issues than is believed. “The Black Cat” is a tale of the woes which plague a man as he goes insane from paranoia of his wrongdoings. In addition he has an alcohol problem and undergoes a traumatic transformation as he is plagued by his murder of his wife and multiple beloved cats. The character is not incriminated under the law, so it seems like he is free. However, the inner turmoil which ensues drives him nearly to insanity. Edgar Allan Poe, known for his sinister …show more content…
At the beginning of the tale, the narrator “was especially fond of animals…” (Poe 3), but his viewpoint shifts completely as time goes on and he develops an “aversion to this cat…” (9). The use of the word “aversion,” meaning a strong repulsion towards, contrasts with the previous word “fond” indicating a change from a positive connotation to a negative one. In the end “the beast, which had been the cause of so much wretchedness,” (12), plagues the narrator to his wit’s end. In referring to an animal, a former symbol of his affection, as a beast, the narrator epitomizes his change. He begins by loving animals, then he has an aversion to them, then it escalates to “a beast” causing him to suffer. The change in heart demonstrates how the events in his life are coming back to haunt him. The characterization throughout the novel provides a window into the madness caused by the narrator’s malicious intentions. Thus crimes which go unpunished by law can still punish a person in the subconscious. Niwar Obaid explains the deterioration of the human mind as horrific events wreak havoc from within in his article, “Stylistic Analysis of ‘The Black Cat’ by Edgar Allan Poe.” Through changing characterization the chaos in a person’s mind is revealed and “the condition of the narrator’s mind and how he wants to declare his destroyed mood” can be further understood (Obaid 5). The concept of the inner conditions of a human undergoing destruction is reiterated here by Obaid while analyzing the characterization in “The Black Cat.” Careful analysis of the changes in the narrator or person in question reveals the shift towards insanity. Crimes and malicious actions punish people by ruining their demeanor. Poe emphasizes the theme of karma and poor intentions through his changing characterization which demonstrates the changes a

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