Alcoholism In The Black Cat

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Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Black Cat immerses the reader into the mind of a murdering alcoholic. Poe himself suffered from alcoholism and often showed erratic behavior with violent outburst. Poe is famous for his American Gothic horror tales such as the Tell-Tale Heart and the fall of the House of Usher. “The Black Cat is Poe’s second psychological study of domestic violence and guilt. He added a new element to aid in evoking the dark side of the narrator, and that is the supernatural world.” (Womack). Poe uses many of the American Gothic characteristics such as emotional intensity, superstition, extremes in violence, the focus on a certain object and foreshadowing lead the reader through a series of events that are horrifying and grotesque. “The Black Cat is one of the most powerful of Poe’s stories, and the horror stops short of the wavering line of disgust” (Quinn). The story is told through the subjective viewpoint of the narrator who begins by telling the reader he is writing this narrative to unburden his soul because he will die tomorrow. The events that brought him to this place in time have “…terrified, tortured and destroyed him” (Poe). This sets a suspenseful tone for the story. He blames the Fiend Intemperance for the alteration of his personality. He went from a very docile, tenderhearted man who loved his pets and wife to a violent man who inflicted this ill temperament on the very things he loves. The final break from the man that he once was, is the
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