How does Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" reveal an unreliable narrator?

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The narrator of the story "The Black Cat" can certainly be considered unreliable due to his alcoholism and his account of his sudden and drastic change in character. Formerly, the narrator had been known as an uniquely kind and compassionate man, particularly toward animals. However, as the narrator admits, his warm heart slowly turned cold and cruel over the years as he sank deeper and deeper into alcoholism. As the narrator becomes crueler, he seems to be unable to fully control his impulses or understand where his violent and ill-mannered behaviors stem from. The narrator does not appear to understand his own thought processes or actions. This lack of understanding of his own cognitive functioning does not instill confidence that he is a reliable narrator.

Throughout the story, the narrator becomes more and more unhinged and violent as he becomes tormented by his hideous act against the cat, Pluto, whom he viciously attacked and then killed by hanging. As the story progresses,...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 1, 2019