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Symbols in The Black Cat

Symbols Examples in The Black Cat:

The Black Cat

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"It was a black cat—a very large one—fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one...."   (The Black Cat)

It is clear that Pluto has made a return from the dead—a move that should offer little surprise, given his name. The white mark is a symbol for the narrator’s guilt. The precise nature of the mark will be revealed subsequently.

"The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance,..."   (The Black Cat)

Eyes are an age-old symbol for the soul. We are to understand that, by cutting out one of the cat’s eyes, the narrator separates his own soul in two, and destroys half of it. This metaphor reinforces the narrator’s duality, and it gives us an image of the ruin of his good half.

"which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise...."   (The Black Cat)

This fact comes as no surprise to Poe’s readers. By drawing attention to popular superstitions regarding black cats, Poe foregrounds the fantastical elements of the story. He also exhibits an awareness of the mythology of the black cat, making the use of such a trope more engaging.

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