How Is The Black Cat Similar To The Masque Of The Red Death

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“Lord help my poor soul.” These were the last words uttered by a delirious Edgar Allan Poe on the night of his death on October 3, 1849, wearing another man’s clothes. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Poe’s death and his tragic life reflect his often morbid, macabre, and bitter works. It is often speculated that the death of every woman in Poe’s life due to consumption, leaving him to believe he was cursed, along with his financial failures (though he did have literary success during his lifetime), may have left him unhinged. Two comparable short stories written by Poe are “The Black Cat” and “The Masque of the Red Death.” One story is about the slow deterioration of a man’s mind, the other about a man learning that no one, not even…show more content…
The main types of characterization in “The Black Cat” used to describe the narrator are inner thoughts and actions. The narrator starts out by clarifying that he is most certainly not insane. “Yet, mad am I not—and very surely do I not dream.” (3) This shows that the narrator is in denial to the fact that he is insane, which is all the more evidence to that fact that he is, indeed, insane. “…its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed me. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred.” (9) This displays the narrator’s inner feelings of hatred towards an innocent and loving animal, which only reinforce the fact that he is deranged. It is revealed to the reader that the narrator has gone from a logical, loving man, to a vile, cruel one with a withered mind and a rotten heart. The narrator’s actions help to establish his personality as well. His maiming and eventual murder of Pluto show his increased detachment and sadism. “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!” (5) The narrator’s actions illustrate his insanity just as well as his inner thoughts. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” the main types of characterization present are reactions/thoughts of others, and physical appearance/attitude. The prince is a haughty, cowardly, and…show more content…
In “The Black Cat,” Poe uses diction particularly well to describe his intense feelings of anger and resentment towards Pluto, and in “The Masque of the Red Death,” he employs a powerful use of an extended metaphor to send the previously-mentioned message of, “no one can cheat death,” to the reader. In “The Black Cat,” Poe uses words/phrases of increasing intensity to describe his mounting feelings, such as, “irritable” (4), “malevolence” (5), and “bitterness of hatred” (9). Poe’s use of diction here really helps the reader to understand what the narrator is feeling. In addition, it gives rise to the theme of sanity versus insanity, because Poe’s use of diction focuses on the deterioration of the narrator’s mind, by highlighting his unwarranted hatred of an innocent creature. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Poe uses an extended metaphor to help convey the theme of fear, and the message about cheating death. Throughout the story, he represents a physical embodiment of the Red Death as a masked victim of the Plague at a masquerade ball, which eventually murders all those that attempted to outsmart death. This is an extended metaphor for the fact that one cannot outrun or outsmart death; in the end, it will always catch up with them, and the natural order will
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