Describe the characters in The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe.

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In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story "The Black Cat," the main character, other than the two cats prominently featured in Poe’s story, is the unnamed narrator.  The story is told in retrospective style by the narrator, apparently a man of means given his reference in the story to a servant who lives with him and his wife, and who the reader is led to believe is imprisoned and soon to be executed for a crime to be described.  Similar to Poe’s narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart" who strenuously denies any suggestion that he is “mad” before proceeding to refute his own point, the narrator in "The Black Cat" begins his story with a rejection of the notion that he is anything but sane, stating “. . .mad am I not . . ., before informing us that his conscience is troubled: “tomorrow I die, and today I would unburden my soul.”  Having informed the reader of his need to unburden his soul regarding the chain of events that led to his current status, he then proceeds to describe his character as follows:

“From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets.”

The narrator, who is yet to mention his wife and current pet, the black cat, is setting the stage for the subsequent description of his descent into hell – a series of developments in which the aforementioned spouse and cat both play prominent roles, and during which the narrator is rendered financially destitute as a result of his alcoholism and a fire that destroys his home.  By emphasizing his docile nature in the beginning, however, he is establishing the context in which he performed a crime so vile that his punishment is execution.  His avowed affection for animals is particularly relevant for his description of the events that will follow and that involves not just one but two black cats.  The precipitating development that sets the fatal chain of events in motion is the narrator’s growing problem with alcohol, the “Fiend Intemperance,” as the puts it.  The effects of his alcoholism includes physical and emotional abuse of his wife, as well as a growing disdain for the animals he previously nurtured, including the titular black cat, Pluto, “a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree.”  Pluto, obviously, play a major role in the narrator’s descent into madness.  Cats, of course, are intuitive and sensitive to the dispositions of those with whom they live.  Pluto is no exception, and his owner’s increasing hostility to all around him is felt by the cat.  After having one of his eye’s cut out with a knife by his inebriated master, Pluto is later hanged with a noose by the narrator. 

The next character mentioned is the narrator’s unnamed wife, who he affectionately describes as follows: “I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own.”  While he clearly once enjoyed his wife’s company, however, the first hint of troubles to come –...

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