Is the narrator in "The Black Cat" remorseful?

The narrator of "The Black Cat" does not feel truly remorseful. He seems to realize that he ought to feel some remorse, but he does not actually express remorse in any sincere way. After he kills his wife, his immediate feeling is one of relief that the black cat seems to have disappeared. Despite being investigated in his wife's disappearance, the narrator claims to feel only anticipation and joy concerning his future.

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The narrator in "The Black Cat" is not particularly remorseful. When he describes the murder of his wife and how he came to the conclusion of what to do with her dead body, he focuses more on how he felt to be rid of the black cat than he does on any feelings of regret or guilt for having killed his spouse. He says that he felt a "deep" and "blissful sense of relief" at the disappearance of the cat:

It did not make its appearance during the night—and thus for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon my soul!

It is as though he is aware of the heinousness of what he has done, of the foul crime he has committed against a woman who was patient and gentle and kind, but he expresses no remorse for it.

Though he is being investigated for the disappearance of his wife, the narrator continues to describe his joy as the days passed and the creature did not reappear. He says,

My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little.

The narrator looked toward the future with gladness and ease. Any guilt or remorse he might have felt must have been terribly insignificant, as he is still able to describe his happiness as being at its absolute height.

The narrator does tell the reader that he is scheduled to die tomorrow and that he would like to "unburden [his] soul," a phrase which implies some guilty feelings and remorse; however, in the actual telling of the story, the narrator expresses little to no remorse whatsoever.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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