“The black cat” is one of his most notable works which stands out among other reasons for its portrayal of the human capacity for evil depicted in the machinations of a murderer haunted by his crimes. The story is centered around the main character; a man who lives with his wife and servants and several pets his favorite which is a cat named Pluto, however, he slowly loses control of his faculties and develops a predisposition for violence and this drives him into maiming than later killing his cat. Later another cat takes its place and although he endeavored to treat it with affection, he develops an inexplicable hatred for it, so much that he tries to kill it but instead kills his wife by accident. He walls her body in the cellar and later when the police come to investigate, walks them around the caller confident that his action will not be discovered, however in his bravado he taps the wall where the woman was hidden and the cat issues cry from with. The police open the wall and find not only the decomposing body of his victim but also the cat which sat on her head feeding on scraps from her body. The narrator is telling the story from a prison cell where he awaits execution and by the virtue of his condition, these signposts to the reader that they should expect to perceive a crime deserving of such punishment. The writer; builds up tension in the narration as he describes his gradual degeneration as he begins to abuse his household pets and even his wife. The
narrative takes a drastic turn as do his atrocities when he describes the brutal and cold hearted manner in which he holds the cat by its throat and deliberately carves out the innocent animal’s eye. “I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!” (Poe 2). From this description, the reader cannot help to shudder at the horror cringe imaging the pain the cat must have endured, this is even worse considering that it was occasioned by someone the beast loved and trusted.
The horror builds up after the incident since the narrator by his own admission is assailed by a spirit of perverseness and he ends up committing veil for the sake of evil, the reader will no doubt remain in suspense and the tension builds up since as they worry about the fate of those leaving close to the now demented man. The images described in the story are rendered particularly vivid by the fact that the by the first person point of view is used, the reader is forced to endure the haunting torment he feels every time he sees the one eyed cat and is reminded of his action. This acts to enhance the fearful atmosphere because by forcing them to see events only through the narrator’s voice, they are made to feel as if they are one with him almost as if they are sharing his revulsion for the cat as well as his desire to eliminate it.
Another image in which the horror of the narrator’s action is further enhanced is presented when he revisits brutality to the innocent cat by ruthlessly hanging it. The atmosphere is riddled with fear and dread since after the cat’s death, the narrator’s house burns down and he is haunted by an image of a huge cat with a rope around its neck on the only wall that did not collapse. The images of his actions combined with the accident that has evidently ruined him continue haunting the narrator and the reader cannot help but feel a sense of dread suggested by the symbolic prophesy of the cat’s eminent return. In an eerie turn of events, the narrator adopts a cat that seems to be identical to Pluto except for the white mark around its neck where presumably the hang noose was in the former. The sense of dread is heightened by awareness of the fact that the cat is probably a