• 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. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR' This shows the depth of Roderick's despair and we can feel his terror, however question the stability of his mind. Poe then introduces Madeline, Roderick's sister into the story. She appears and disappears almost in a ghostly fashion.

  2. How does Edgar Allen Poe create an atmosphere of suspense and tension in The ...

    Which has the idea of the cat being a brute because he hates it so much and a beast and not just an animal. However in "The Tell-Tale Heart" there is a lot more repetition. Which is mostly used in the same way.

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

    Poe goes on to describe the interior of the house, which is depicted as having a very melancholy atmosphere. 'I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow', this is how the narrator felt when he was in the house. It suggests the house has got a life of its own as it

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

    It includes more background description. "I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets." This quote shows that 'The Black Cat' tells us about the background of the narrator since he was a young boy. 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is more concise and includes some very detailed sections but less background.

  1. The similarities and differences between ways in which murder is depicted in "The Tell-Tale ...

    Poe purposely uses long sentences and plenty of description to make the reader realise how upset and heartbroken the murderer is about the death of his cat. The protagonist describes misery and unhappiness in his life due to drinking. After a drunken night he finds the perfect replacement for Pluto.

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

    The relationships consist of two brothers, one of which is the narrator. The brothers are married to two sisters. The narrator especially hates his brother's wife because he appears to be afraid of her. 'I was afraid of her; she haunted me.'

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