What is the message of "The Black Cat"?
In the famous short story "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allen Poe, the narrator initially professes a love for animals. He and his wife have numerous pets, but the narrator is particularly fond of a large black cat named Pluto. However, the narrator comes home drunk one night, and after the frightened cat bites him, in a fit of rage he gouges out one of its eyes. In another drunken frenzy, he kills the cat by hanging it from a tree. His house catches fire that night, and the next day he sees a ghostly outline of the hanged cat on a wall, as if the cat is haunting him.
A similar cat follows him home one night, and it begins to terrify him, as he notices resemblances to the cat he has killed. Attempting to kill the second cat with an axe, he instead hits his wife in the head, killing her when she tries to stop him. He encloses her body in the wall with bricks, but when the police come to investigate, the second black cat howls from within the wall, exposing the narrator's murder of his wife.
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