In the very first paragraph of the story, the first- person narrator says, “But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul.” He knows that he is going to die tomorrow for the crime of killing his wife, and so it would only make sense that he is in jail, awaiting his execution. He wishes to tell his story before his death. If he were not imprisoned and awaiting his execution, then there would really be no way for him to know that he is going to die tomorrow, unless he were going to take his own life, but we have no evidence to suggest that this is his plan. However, other evidence in the story confirms the idea that he is in jail and awaiting execution.
In the final paragraph of the story, for example, the narrator describes the appearance of the black cat atop the corpse of his wife, hidden within the basement wall, saying, there
sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman.
The narrator had,...
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