Essay on The Black Cat

1084 Words Mar 21st, 2011 5 Pages
“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe is one of Poe’s greatest literary works that embodies his signature themes of death, violence, and darkness. Poe’s main character begins his narration of his horrible wrongdoings regarding them as a “series of mere household events” (Poe 705). However, this is where Poe’s satire and irony begins and the story progresses to show the deranged mindset of this character as he tries to justify his actions. As the main character proceeds to rationalize his crime, Poe is able to convey a sense of irony through his use of foreshadowing, metaphors and symbolism.
Irony begins within the narrator’s introduction to his confession by telling the reader that he will tell his story
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This theory also supports the irony that the wife’s body was decomposed after merely three-days and leaves the reader with one of Poe’s signature suspenseful, disturbing endings. The final writing element that Poe uses throughout this short story is symbolism. Readers are introduced to one of the story’s main characters, Pluto, the black cat, who supposedly provokes the narrator into committing his heinous acts of violence but is merely symbolic for the narrator’s imbedded hatred and evil. Not only is this feline symbolic for evil because of superstitions regarding black cats, the cat’s name has a deeper symbolic meaning. According to Roman Mythology, Pluto is name of the god of the dead and ruler of the underworld. This symbolic name not only represents the narrator’s cruel intentions but also provides a sense of foreshadowing. After the first black cat is slain, a second black cat appears and is unwelcomed by the narrator. According to Professor Ann Bliss from the University of California, “looks remarkably like the original except in one respect: it is marked with a patch of white that, for the narrator, increasingly comes to resemble a gallows—reminding the narrator of his violence toward the first cat and foreshadowing acts of violence

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