Themes

Moral and psychological transformation

The narrator undergoes a severe transformation throughout the story “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe. The man starts off with a passion for animals and a strong attachment towards them: “We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat”. But, as years pass by, the man starts drinking, grows more irritable, and starts to resent the very animals that he had held so dear: “My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them”.

The character transforms into a heartless, cruel man, capable of torturing his pets, culminating with cutting out one of the eyes of his favourite pet and subsequently killing the animal. However, the narrator seems to be aware that he is committing an immoral act: “I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin -- a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul”. After he kills Pluto, the narrator feels guilty and tri...

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