The Black Cat Analysis

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Compare and contrast the way in which the narrators of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black are presented as psychotic
In the shorts stories ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Black Cat’ by Edgar Allan Poe, both of the narrators are presented as psychotic. Psychosis is a mental disorder characterised by symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations. In The-Tale Heart the unnamed narrator decides to kill the old man- not for money, but rather a fear of the man’s pale blue eye. Similarly, the narrator in The Black Cat kills his wife and his cat for no reason other than his psychosis. What is interesting for the reader, is to compare the motivation for the murders in both short stories, which in term helps us to infer the extent of each character’s psychosis.
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The both try to justify their madness, and are focused on explaining their actions. In Tell-Tale Heart he was so paranoid by people thinking that he is mad, so he constantly denied it and tried to prove how ‘calmly’ he could tell us the whole story. He asked ‘How, then, am I mad?’ the fact that he was unreliable narrator means that we can’t really trust him and take his word for it. Even if his words were convincing his actions made it clear that was the opposite of what he claimed himself to be. This story illuminates the psychological contradictions that contribute to a murderous profile. Likewise, in The Black Cat the narrator said that he could be seen as mad, but ‘mad am I not’ due to his smugness, not his paranoia of readers thinking he is mad. We can trust this narrator, as he did tell the story calmly but he did show signs of psychosis. Both narrators recognised that readers could think of them as mad, which shows that they know about their psychosis- so both of them are equally ‘mad’ in this …show more content…
In The Tell-Tale Heart, his thought process was heavily influenced by anxiety, or fear, to the point of delusions. After the narrator murdered the old man he thought he could hear ‘the beating of his hideous heart!’ He also thought that the police ‘heard! - they suspected! - they knew! - they were making a mockery of my horror!’ the fact that he thought he could hear the beating heart after he murdered the old man is a clear sign of psychosis represented by Poe. In The Black Cat the narrator his attention was drawn ‘to the character of the mark of the white hair’ he was convinced that the ‘mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees -- degrees nearly imperceptible… it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline.’ The psychosis that he had was highlighted by his delusions as it wasn’t physically possible for the fur to change on the cat, but the fact that the narrator was an alcoholic was a justification for his actions and what he

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