Comparative Analysis on Poe’s Stories
Edgar Allan Poe very effectively uses symbolism in his stories to convey a deeper meaning. Two of his stories, THE BLACK CAT and CASK OF AMONTILLADO have a common theme of premeditated murder. The Black Cat is a story about an insane man who commits the murder of a cat and his wife under the influence of alcohol. The murders take place in the cellar of his house at night when the narrator is drunk. In THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, the narrator, Montresor decides to murder Fortunato for the insult upon him. He buries Fortunato alive in the vaults of his mansion. Fortunate would never have predicted his own death due to the veil of friendship that Montresor had put up to create an illusion of cordiality. This essay focuses on the symbolism used by Edgar Allan Poe in his stories.
In THE BLACK CAT, the theme is premeditated murder and uxoricide. The narrator is insane and unreliable. It is an autobiography and a retrospective narrative from a jail cell. A theme of uxoricide has been chosen because since childhood, he has had traumatic experiences concerning the women in his life. His mother died when he was a young boy and shortly after his marriage his wife died. He was permanently scarred by this ill-fortune and this is reflected in his writing. Whenever women are mentioned in his stories, either they have a very brief and impersonal role or they are murdered (as seen in THE BLACK CAT). This story can be classified under the sub-genre of horror Gothicism because the story confronts the principle character, the black cat and his wife, with gross physical violence, explicitly shattering the assumed norms of everyday life. The narrator gorges out the eye of his beloved cat, later he hangs it to the branch of a tree to die and he buries an axe in the brain of his wife and murders her. The color of its cat- black and its name- Pluto are both very symbolic. They add to the Gothic elements of the story. The...