Edgar Allen Poe: The Black Cat

I reread this story this morning in a collection of short stories under the title “Animal”. Yes, a beast figures in it (as the title itself  suggests) but I would classify it under Horror. In fact, this story is often included in anthologies of macabre tales.

In this first person narrative  (I don’t think we get to know his name from any conversation that others have with him), the man says that in his younger days he was a man noted for the docility and humanity of his disposition. But in later years he became an addict to drinks and there was a transformation for the worse.

In one instance after another the man in a drunken state is cruel to a black cat that is a pet in the house.

And one fell deed leads to another!

But then Nemesis always overtakes perpetrators of crime. How in this story? Read it.

Somewhere in the middle of the story there is a slight foreshadow of what happened to the cruel man.

And, after reading the story, tell me if that last sentence was really necessary.




“I started, hourly, from dreams of unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thing upon my face, and its vast weight – an incarnate Nightmare that I had no power to shake off – incumbent eternally upon my heart!”


3 Responses to Edgar Allen Poe: The Black Cat

  1. Ganesh says:

    Should have taken the warning in your post about this being a macabre tale, and not read it. I have a distaste for such stories.

    I am no literature student, and it has been a very long time since I analyzed any piece of work in a critical manner. However, the last sentence, I feel, is not as straightforward as it sounds, but has a metaphorical feel to it. Not sure!

  2. cgrishikesh says:

    To each his own taste. I can read such horror stories without getting squeamish but those Tamil serials on our TV and even the daily news with bombings, accidents, bickerings, cons, fakes, assault and battery I cannot stand – I just move away while others at home might be watching them. All that I wish to watch is those IPL cheerleaders shaking their legs.

  3. Yes, definitely macabre. Not my cuppa too! The wretched squalor of alcoholism struck me as a horrid reality.

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