Short Fiction

The Black Cat

Like many of Poe's other narrators, the narrator of “The Black Cat” is unreliable. He reveals himself to be a drunkard and appears to gradually losing his grip on reality. The more he drinks, the more he develops a homicidal rage towards the black cat that his wife gives him. Despite claiming that he has particular love for cats and dogs, the narrator begins to have violent mood swings that often result in harm to these animals. He blames external forces—“perverseness,” “alcohol,” “fiendish malevolence”—in order to separate himself from his actions. However, as the story unfolds, readers realize more and more that they are within the mind of a deceptive madman who is headed for disaster. One of Poe’s most horrifying and dark tales, “The Black Cat” contains Poe’s most vehement condemnations of alcohol and the ills it causes. The abundant symbolism, imagery, and psychological confusion throughout the story pull readers into the narrator’s twisted truth and violent psyche.

View More