The Black Cat Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is the setting of "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe?

The setting of "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe is at first a jail cell, from which the narrator relates his perverse actions in each of the homes he had previously inhabited. These actions were the result of spending his time in taverns, abusing alcohol. This story, told from the perspective of a psychologically flawed narrator, also explores psychological setting as a key part of the narrative.

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would argue that there are a few important settings in this macabre story. The first is the jail cell in which we meet our nameless narrator. He knows he has no hope of making it out of prison, and he states categorically that he will die the following day. It seems that he is imprisoned in his own insanity as much as he is in the prison cell.

The next important setting is the narrator’s former home, which he shared with his wife and a number of pets. Until he allowed his love of alcohol to take over his life, it would appear that the marriage, and the home, was a happy one.

Sadly for the couple’s feline friend, Pluto, this home is where the narrator’s respect for those around him starts to break down. It is the setting for the cat’s violent killing.

After this first home is burned down, the couple move to another home, which will become the setting where our narrator tries to kill a second black cat but winds up murdering his wife when she tries to intervene.

In addition, I...

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