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

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Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" A critical comparison Edgar Allan Poe’s main focuses in his writings are horror, fantasy, and murder, with the theme of death visited in most of his works. His many writings reflect an imagination that most of his readers could experience when dreaming at night. Poe takes the subject matter death a step further than the simple act and explores the processes and avenues of death. This form of morbidity that is brought throughout Poe’s stories usually involves the main character getting rid of one's burden, to one degree or another. Nearly all of his works consisted of variations of this single theme of dark and dreary death. In addition, most of his stories involve an individual who is forever haunted by their reactions to the one thing that they wanted to get rid of. In the stories "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" we see this theme presented in a very powerful sense. Both the “Tell Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” involve the narrator’s inner torment to his selfless act of violence. The focus on the narrator and the theme of the story is strongly concealed with the characters need to be rid of something, but yet continuously being haunted by that very something, even after it has been disposed of, presenting us with what Poe termed "spirit of perverseness."           “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Alan Poe (1843) is a story describing a case of domestic violence that has occurred as a result of an irrational fear. To the narrator, that fear is represented by the old man's eye. This eye which has caused such fear to the narrator is described as a vulture’s eye. “He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it.” (Poe, 1843) A vulture, of course, is a bird of prey; and if anyone is predatory in this story, it is certainly not the old man, but the narrator. 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 paranoia after the act is committed, the dramatic concentrated intensity of tone, the gradually heightening series of dramatic events, and the narrators conscience which causes his compulsion to confess the murder. “But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder!
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louder! Louder” (Poe, 1843) The narrator is a person whom feels the need and compulsion to commit a gratuitous act of evil against the old man due to this fear of the eye. There is no real reasoning for this decision, except for the fact that the narrator suddenly takes a violent dislike to the way the old man looks at him. The narrator is essentially losing his mind; he is consumed by some inconceivable need to rid himself of the insanity caused by the old man and his eye. “I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. ...

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