What are the symbols throughout the story of the black cat in Poe's "The Black Cat"? Also, how did Poe establish an atmosphere of fear and horror in "The black cat"? I need to consider foreshadowing,...

What are the symbols throughout the story of the black cat in Poe's "The Black Cat"? Also, how did Poe establish an atmosphere of fear and horror in "The black cat"? I need to consider foreshadowing, points of view, allusions, symbols etc.

Expert Answers info

seaofknowledge eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2014

write90 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Poe establishes an atmosphere of fear and horror in several different ways in "The Black Cat." Firstly, the narrator, who is telling the story from the first person point of view, describes himself as docile, humane and a lover of pets. But this character ends up doing the most unimaginable things. He abuses, harms and kills his favorite pet and later ends up killing his wife. Perhaps what is most horrific about the story is the ease with which the narrator describes his deeds. 

The narrator is frequently contradicting himself. He used to be docile but later turned murderous. He had regret and even shame about harming his cat but later feels fine about having murdered his wife. The fact that he can commit these dreadful deeds in cold-blood is very disturbing.

As for symbols, most readers agree that there are many symbols associated with the two cats in the story. The first cat is a completely black cat. In European history, black cats were thought to be unlikely, some even thought that they...

(The entire section contains 689 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial