Analyze the dialogue in "The Black Cat."

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There is no dialogue in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Black Cat .” Dialogue consists of verbal interaction between two or more people. The narrator of Poe’s story sits alone in a prison cell, his execution imminent, and pens the history that has brought him to this...

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There is no dialogue in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Black Cat.” Dialogue consists of verbal interaction between two or more people. The narrator of Poe’s story sits alone in a prison cell, his execution imminent, and pens the history that has brought him to this foreboding place. He relates the tale of his relationships to his wife (only in passing), to two large black cats, and to the instrument of his doom: alcohol, or as he calls it early in his narrative, “the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance.”

There is no verbal interaction quoted throughout the narrative, and the only spoken words of note occur near the story’s conclusion. The narrator, confident that his evil deed—the brutal murder of his wife and the body’s internment behind a wall—will remain a secret, boasts to the investigating police who have returned to his abode to again search the premises for signs of criminal activities that the structure in which he resides is especially well-constructed:

“Gentlemen,” I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, “I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this—this is a very well-constructed house,” (in the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all),—“I may say an excellently well-constructed house. These walls—are you going, gentlemen?—these walls are solidly put together”; and here, through the mere frenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brickwork behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom.

That’s it; there is no verbal response noted by the narrator from the police officers who hear the horrific screeches from the cat mistakenly entombed behind the wall that heretofore concealed the decaying corpse of the narrator’s wife. The investigating magistrates simply respond to the mysterious and horrifying screeches by tearing down the wall and discovering the corpse and the cat.

“The Black Cat” is told from the first-person perspective of an unrecovered drunk whose grasp on sanity had long since slipped away. It is told entirely in the first person with no dialogue provided, save the verbal communication at the story’s end that results in the narrator’s arrest for the murder of his wife.

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