The Black Cat - An essay on Poe's THE BLACK CAT

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Smith 1 Lesley Smith English 287- Paper 1 Dr. Woertendyke 25 February 2010 The Spirit of Perversity There is little in Edgar Allen Poe’s short-story “The Black Cat,” that is lucid and clearly factual. The narrator is a man who is seemingly insane, although even that can be debated. With all of the mire and confusion in the story the detail that is irrefutable is that the theme of human perversity and the effects of such are seen in the progression of “The Black Cat.” Poe describes perversity as innate in all human beings and says the want to commit malicious acts simply because of their evil nature is the main characteristic of perversity. He also points out that perversity is one of the primary motives that drive people to acting, or committing a wrong deed. Poe writes, “Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law , merely because we understand it to be such,” (1594). Thus, Poe asserts that the human race is born afflicted with this depravity and that humans have a natural inclination towards rebelling against better judgment. Perversity is used as the main impetus for the narrator’s ghastly behavior and for the murders he commits throughout the story. While it is the reason for his moral declination, it is not the only contributing factor to the narrator’s evil deeds. Poe’s narrator is conscious of the malicious nature of his acts and instead of trying to become a better person he continues to act in the same damaging manner. This adds poignancy to his perverse spirit and actually makes him more responsible for his actions, which is what he tries to avoid illustrating throughout his narration.
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Smith 2 As Poe states early on, perversity is not a characteristic that some men posses, but
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The Black Cat - An essay on Poe's THE BLACK CAT

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