• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet and writer who is regarded as a master of the macabre, focusing on the horror genre with themes of death and insanity being explored throughout his work. Many traits of his main characters, such as the alcohol abuse of the protagonist in The Black Cat are borrowed from his own experiences, with the demons of drugs and alcohol eventually driving Poe to his death. His stories in general share the social setting of his own life, which was east-coast America in the mid-1800s, when at the time the distinct stoicism of the Victorian era was prevalent and insanity was a taboo subject - people who displayed an unstable state of mind were locked away and treated as outcasts. The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat have many similarities, including these two men who throughtout their stories attempt to rationalise their respective downfalls , but instead show how terribly insane they are, letting the reader make their own observation of their mental disintegration. ...read more.

Middle

Right up until the revealing of the body, this man displays a stable state of mind to all around him. Neither man displays any remorse for the killings. The difference between the two murders is that in The Tell-Tale Heart, the murder does not come as a surprise. We are prepared from the start for what is going to happen, as he says "I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever". Poe's mastery is seen here as he builds up tension; the pace of the story is extremely slow - he terrorises the old man for seven nights before the murder. A reader's enjoyment of the story rests on the descriptions of how this man's mind progresses, because he is extremely worrying as well as engaging. On the contrary, the murder in The Black Cat comes as a complete surprise. Just as his wife is simply accompanying him to the cellar, he is driven into a fit of rage and aims a blow at the cat. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are basic similarities between both narrators displayed in these stories. We sense that both men deeply loved their victims, and I think Poe makes this clear to make the crimes they have committed seem more irrational. They murdered because of their mental damage and while are not remorseful for the killings, they may have regretted that their victims had to die because of their obsessions. In The Tell-Tale Heart the corpse is dismembered, and while this is not done in The Black Cat, we can compare the methodical way in which the men go about the murders. Also, in both of the stories, the narrators reflect on their deterioration after it has happened. This allows them to comment on what happened with hindsight, and therefore we have a unique viewpoint of what happened. The two stories are both told in first person, which is necessary to gain a better idea of both men's characters. The language Poe uses in both stories is extremely successful in creating the two characters and setting the scenes for the murders. Zo� Molyneux ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Edgar Allan Poe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Edgar Allan Poe essays

  1. How does the writer create suspense in the Tell Tale Heart?

    My example for this is "every morning when the day broke." Here he is describing time fast and over a period of time. Poe has made time go fast and slowly, so there is more tension and pace. A final point, to how Poe creates suspense in the Tell Tale Heart, is using italics and similes.

  2. Comparison of 'The Tell Tale Heart', 'The Black Cat', and 'The Oval Portrait'.

    It conveys the cat's feelings towards its master, since he cut one of its eyes from its socket. After reviewing this subsection on fear, I concluded that 'The Black Cat' illustrates these experiences with a more brutal and aggressive edge.

  1. How is tension created in 'The tell tale hearts' and 'The black cat'?

    This will reinforce the reader's doubts about the man as it informs them once again that he has done wrong. 'The black cat' is the story of the murder of a defenceless animal, which was killed by the person who once loved it more than anything.

  2. Compare and Contrast "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "A Confession ...

    'Now you may think that I drew back - but no' is a phrase that really highlights the confidence of the narrator, along with 'how calmly I can tell you the whole story.' 'Oh you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!'

  1. Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" - A critical comparison.

    An element in this story which further magnifies the thesis presented is that of one which involves hiding the perverseness and the haunting of guilt. In addition to dramatizing the spirit of perverseness` in his narrative, Poe combines other elements of the gothic tale including the evil eye, the narrator's

  2. Compare the two nineteenth century horror stories, 'The Black Cat' and 'The Tell-Tale Heart' ...

    "Presently, I heart a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief -- Oh no! It was a low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe."

  1. Edgar Allan Poe 'Tell Tale Heart' and 'the fall of the house of Usher

    to convince us of this by detailing how carefully the murder was planned. By doing so Poe assures our convictions that the narrator is insane. Poe understands that deranged people often try to convince that they are sane when to an outsider they clearly are not.

  2. Discussing 'The Tell Tale Heart', 'The Black Cat' and 'The Oval Portrait'.

    'I felt that I must scream or die!' is a quote taken from 'The Tell Tale Heart'. It refers to the guilt which is gradually surfacing within the killer of the elderly man. 'Mistaken the head for that of a living person' is taken from the novel 'The Oval Portrait'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work