The Black Cat

In this story the author convincingly and precisely describes the human tendency to do harm with no real motive. Poe stated just the facts and does not question them in a moral sense. The story is written as a inner monologue of the storyteller.

Summary

The hero of this story was gentle and permissive as a child. He loved animals and took good care of them. He did that when he was older too. He married his soul mate and was very happy. From many pets he had a black cat Pluto was most attached to him.

However the hero of the story starts to drink and becomes a slave to the alcohol. He starts to fall apart physically and mentally. While he’s drunk he starts to mistreat his wife and his pet, the black cat. He even dug his eye out with a knife in a rush of rage and hatred. Irritated with guilty he hung him cruelly on a tree.

Then his troubles began to pile up. His house burned down, his estate got ruined and he was irritated by a one-eye cat he found in the bar one night. He followed him constantly as a living alert of what he has done. Terrible nightmares started torturing him awake and asleep. The grumpiness became hatred towards everything and everyone.

His wife suffered a lot because she had to live next to him. When they were in a basement of an old building instead of a cat he killed his wife with an axe because she wanted to stop him from killing the cat. Instead of feeling sorry or desperate for what he had done he starts to think of a way to get rid of the body. He decided to wall up the body in the basement. He tried to make the wall look like it did before. He went looking for his torturer, the black cat, but couldn’t find him.

On the fourth day after the murder the police came and checked every corner of the house but without results. Our hero, in his glory of not being discovered, knocked on the wall with a cane to show that the walls are firm. Then the unexpected happened. From the wall, as if it was a grave, they heard sobbing that soon became screaming. When the police destroyed the wall above the head of the dead women was the black cat. Our hero didn’t even know he walled the cat up with his wife.

Genre: short story

Time: 19th century

Characters: man and the black cat

Author: Edgar Allan Poe biography