What made the narrator kill his wife in "The Black Cat?"

Expert Answers info

booksnake eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write443 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

The narrator of seems to blame the root of all his problems in "The Black Cat" on alcohol despite the fact that alcohol doesn't make most people suddenly abuse their loved ones. This inconsistency aside, it's drunkenness that the narrator says makes him abuse his animals until one day the abuse goes so far that he gouges out his cat's eye and kills it.

Soon after, another black cat appears who also, strangely, is missing an eye, and he adopts it to replace the one that he murdered. It's this cat who the narrator is too afraid to abuse (and who torments him) that he blames for his increasingly abusive behavior toward his wife. One day he tries to kill the cat (again?), but his wife defends it, and he kills her instead.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,124 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The narrator effectively blames the cat for his killing of his wife. It was the cat—the second cat—that reminded him of his first cat, Pluto, the one he got mad at and hanged. He was just about to hand his second cat a one-way ticket to kitty heaven when his wife...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 571 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial