The Theme of Perversity in Edgar Allen Poe’s the Black Cat Essay

1349 Words 6 Pages
The Theme of Perversity in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat

ENG 201 American Literature to 1865

The Black Cat is a tale that leaves the reader somewhat perplexed. It certainly contains all the ingredients necessary to satisfy the appetite of any Poe enthusiast - an enigmatic narrator, alcohol and the effects thereof, mutilation, strangulation, murder, putrefaction, and, last but not least, one of Poe's slight (but recurring) obsessions, perversity - but we are left wondering whether the tale really amounts to anything much at all. One could almost split this short story into two halves: one that contains a couple of ideas worth considering; and another that simply indulges briefly in an unlikely plot before grinding to a
…show more content…
From that moment onward, the cat fled in terror at his master's approach. At first, the narrator is remorseful and regrets his cruelty. "But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of perverseness." Afterwards, he takes the cat outside to the garden one day and hangs it from a tree, where it dies. That very night, is when his house catches fire, forcing the narrator, his wife and their servant to flee. When the narrator returns home, he sees that there is an image of a gigantic cat dangling by its neck on the one wall that survived the fire.
Although the feline served as a worthy domestic companion, innocent in its existence, he is unknowingly condemned by the narrator's compulsive perversity when his drunken judgments are sadistically acted upon. After the fire, the narrator takes home a strikingly similar looking feline he found in the tavern, and soon begins to believe that the white patch on the animal’s chest, the only characteristic that sets this cat apart from Pluto, has taken shape and formed an image resembling gallows. It is evident that his own guilty thoughts are playing tricks on his mind. His conscience is torturing his thoughts as he tries to live with his

Related Documents