In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat," how did the narrator change over the years?

In Edgar Allan Poe's “The Black Cat,” the narrator changed over the years from a kind, caring animal lover into a murderer. He kills not only his beloved cat, Pluto, but later his wife. This was largely due to a toxic combination of alcoholism and mental illness.

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If we are to believe the narrator of “The Black Cat”—and that's a pretty big if—he used to be a kind, considerate human being with a sentimental attachment to animals. Back in the day, his house was a veritable menagerie, jam-packed with all kinds of pets that the narrator would happily feed and caress.

The narrator further goes on to tell us that this “peculiarity of character” of his remained as he made the transition from boyhood to adulthood. He positively reveled in the companionship of animals, whose “unselfish and self-sacrificing love” was vastly superior to the “paltry friendship” and “gossamer fidelity” of men. In other words, the narrator preferred animals to humans.

Yet by the time we've reached the end of the story, the narrator has experienced a profound change—and not for the better. In a fit of rage, he kills what was once a beloved pet cat called Pluto. Later on, his brain further tormented by alcohol and mental illness, he kills his wife with...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 6, 2020