Do you accept the narrator’s blaming of the cat in the Black Cat for his actions and for his fate? Why or why not?
Edgar Allan Poe has for a long time represented his characters in an exciting manner. In his fiction; the Black Cat, there is clear representation regarding his struggles. In fact, in the stories where Poe does not take the role of a character, his identities resemble that of his characters. Among the most notable fiction was the Black Cat, which talks of the narrator’s love for his wife’s pet and his growing problem of alcoholism. Ideally, Poe’s work was not only a subconscious of his own experience, but an inspiration to reveal a little bit about himself. Surprisingly, in the Black Cat, Poe blames the cat for his actions presuming that it controls his fate.
However, I disagree with the narrator’s view that the cat is to blame for his action. Alcoholism is the ultimate reason for how the narrator behaves. Ideally, the use of alcohol is quite prominent in the Black cat. After using alcohol, the narrator changes from a kind person to a ruthless person who has no mercy for animals. When he is intoxicated, killing animals does not seem like a big deal to him. In fact, he admits to cutting Pluto’s eye and beating his wife while on alcohol. Alcohol not only made the narrator to hate the things he used to love, but also reached self-destruction.
Additionally, the narrator later in his confession admits that alcoholism is to blame for his actions. Initially, the narrator is trying to blame his actions on the Cat. However, as the story progresses he explains how his behavior and anger has increased with alcoholism. In fact, his actions seem to disturb him but he cannot be able to stop. He blames everything on alcohol. In fact, he says, “but my disease grew up on me- for what disease is like alcohol (Poe, 5)” In this quote, the narrator admits that alcoholism to him is like a disease. He acknowledges that everything around him including Pluto is being affected. Furthermore, he says that he is remorseful for the crimes he commits.
Besides, the narrator recalls the death of his wife and talks of the demons from hell. First, he tries to blame the cat for causing the death of his wife, yet he is indirectly talking of alcohol. He likens himself to a beast when he is drunk. The use of alcohol started like a joke for him but with small and gradual use of alcohol, he turned into someone different. He says, “…but by slow degree-degrees nearly imperceptible…and for this, above all, I loathed and dreaded and could have rid myself of the monster had I dared. (Poe, 10)” In this quote, the narrator admits that inspite of the progressive effect of the monster; alcohol, he would have rescued himself if he had tried. Apparently, it was not easy to stop taking alcohol. The narrator feels that his problem with alcoholism has gone to far and he has no power over it. If the cat were to blame for his problem, then he would have stopped to lament when he cut the cat’s eye.
In short, Edgar Allan Poe’s black cat is a reflection on how people blame their problems on other things instead of taking responsibility. The narrator spent a great deal of his time blaming his action on the Cat instead of focusing on the real problem; alcohol. It is only by facing one’s problem that a person is able to free from alcoholism.
Poe, Edgar Allan, and John Lane. The black cat. Spoken Arts, 1970.