What are some themes in the story "The Black Cat"? 

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This story seems to caution readers about the dangers of alcohol. The narrator says that he suffers from the "Fiend Intemperance" and describes the incredibly deleterious effects on his character as a result of his alcoholism. When he is inebriated, he goes into rages, enacting terrible violence on other living creatures. He seems to lose all sense of who he is, and he even describes the longing to make a loving creature suffer by his own hands. Poe himself had a somewhat addictive personality and struggled with alcohol abuse in his personal life.

Further, the story also seems to illuminate the idea that the weight on one's conscience, created by wicked deeds, could very well cause them to reveal their own guilt. The narrator is so careful to conceal the location of his wife's corpse, and yet he feels compelled to draw the police officers' attention to the precise spot, an action that result in his own capture. It is, perhaps, his own sense of guilt that compels him to risk self-sabotage in this way.

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Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Black Cat" deals with themes seen in many of his writings: revenge and guilt. The theme of revenge can definitely be seen represented by the cat itself. The narrator's violent actions towards the cat (and later this wife) are paid back by the black cat. According to the narrator, the cat is the reason the narrator gets caught by the police and is being executed. The cat's moaning, shriek from inside the wall is what triggers the narrator's reaction thus allowing the police to find the narrator's wife.

The theme of guilt is also addressed, much like in "The Tell-Tale Heart." Poe leads the reader to believe that there really is no 2nd cat. Once the narrator killed Pluto, the 2nd cat in the story is strictly a manifestation of his guilt. He has literally gotten away with the crime of murdering his wife, but his guilty conscience draws the police to the body walled up in the basement. He alone hears the shrieks of the cat (his guilt).  

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