How does the perspective and style of "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe compare to that the Romantic period in American literature?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The Romantics possessed a conviction that intuition, and contemplation of the natural world is a way of discovering the truth that lies behand mere reality. Dark romantics like Poe also felt that spiritual facts lie behind the appearances of nature; he simply disagreed that these facts are necessarily good.  He felt that the Romantics had taken the mystical elements and ignored the dark side. He admits the existence of sin, pain, and evil in human life wiith Nature wearing the colors of the spirit.

In "The Black Cat"  Poe explains his perverse treatment of a once-loved cat: 

Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives than that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart--one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of man.

Later, Poe replaces the cat with another similar one.  As it,too, has a damaged eye, the narrator's adhorrence increases and the cat becomes an "engine of horror and of crime, of agony and of details."  The narrator further explains that the"feeble remnant of good" left in him had been destroyed.  Shortly thereafter he kills his wife and walls in her body.  However, he has "walled the monster up within the tomb!"  Dark Nature, in the form of the dark cat, returns and reflects the evil in the spirt

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,982 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question