The Formuliac Narrators Of Edgar Allan Poe


. c act of murder. Just as the Tell-Tale narrator goes from a fixation on ridding himself of the eye, to a period of waiting for his catalyst, the Black Cat narrator goes through the same process. Both narrators spend a period of time waiting, while their aversion to their object of obsession turns darker and more volatile, despite no rational provocation.

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The Black Cat narrator explains that with [his] aversion to this catits partiality for himself seemed to increase (p325) Instead of easing his ill will towards the animal, this leads to his absolute dread of the beast (p325).This dread, when left to fester over time, as over the seven days for the Tell-Tale narrator, gains intensity. The Black Cat narrator explains his motivations through the concept of a sort of demon possession, which he feels roots from a certain PERVERSENESS that is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart (p322). Through the narrators words, Poe presents the dark side of the human mind, where you do wrong for the wrongs sake only (p322).

This perverse side of the human mind, in conjunction with their irrational fears is what fuels the action of both stories. This horrible combination of the human mind is what is behind the Black Cat narrators actions when he in cool blood, slipped a noose about [the cats] neck and hung it to the limb of a tree (p322), and when in a rage more than demoniacal, (p327) buried an axe in his wifes head because she tried to protect the cat. This combination of irrational fear and perversity is presented in the final moments before the narrator kills the old man. Once again reminding the reader of his acute senses, the Tell-Tale narrator thinks he hears the beating of the old mans heart.At first, it increased [his] fury, as the beating of the drum stimulates the soldier into courage (p279). Then, this sound in the silence of the house excites him to uncontrollable terror (p280). This flow of emotion from anger, to exited terror, ends with a perverse happiness, as the narrator smile[s] gaily (p280) once the old man is dead.

This perverse sense of satisfaction and triumph is what trips both narrators up in the end of their stories, as their meticulous plans unravel before their eyes. Both narrators are careful and calculating in their plans to dispose of, or to just conceal the bodies of their murder victims. The Tell-Tale narrator could scarcely contain [his] feelings of triumph (p278) after the murder of the old man.He then goes on to gloat of how he first dismembered the corpse, then hid its pieces under the floor planks so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye not even his could have detected any thing wrong (p280). This last, ditch effort to get one over on the dead mans eye is a testimony to how deep into the dark and perverted human mind the Tell-Tale narrator has fallen. Similarly, the Black Cat narrator shows no remorse when, all in one sentence, he announces the hideous murder accomplished and moves on to the task of concealing the body (p327) of his dead wife.

Calmly, he runs through scenarios in his mind of cremation, grave digging, or even sending the corpse as a package of merchandize out of the house. Finally, he settles on a plan much like that of the Tell-Tale narrator, but instead of concealment under the floor, he chooses concealment behind the cellar walls. He too, is pleased with his handiwork, as the wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed (p327).He congratulates himself triumphantly and his happiness [is] supreme! The guilt of [his]dark deed disturbed [him] but little (p328). At the entrance of the police in both stories, each narrator is at the height of his madness and thus feeling most invincible in their accomplished murders. The Tell-Tale narrator states confidently that the officers were satisfied and that his manner had convinced them (p281) of his innocence. The Black Cat narrator is equally confident that the police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart (p328). However, just as both reinforced their madness to the reader by their insistence of their sanity at the beginning of their tales, they both reinforce their guilt to the police by their insistence on their innocence.

The Tell-Tale narrator, in the wild audacity of [his] perfect triumph (p281), sits directly over the floor planks under which the corpse of the old man lies. Sitting, chatting easily with the police, he begins to feel uneasy and eager for them to leave. Unable to pinpoint the source of his uneasiness, a ringing in his ears turns, in his mind, into the beating of the old mans heart. This sound, which excited him to uncontrollable terror before, now drives him into an uncontrollable fit of paranoia and to confession, as he shrieks, I admit the deed! tear up the planks! Here, here! it is the beating of his hideous heart (p282)! The Black Cat narrator shows the same audacity, as he too, disturbs the ready-made tomb of his wife. Not only does he detain the police officers for a few more words of smug assertions of his innocence, but he rapped heavily, with a caneupon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the dead wife of [his] bosom (p329).Then, as the Tell-Tale narrator hears the sound of his greatest fear, in the beating of the old mans heart, the Black Cat narrator hears the wailing shriek (p329) of the cat.

This doesnt lead him directly to a confession, but it only takes an instant for the police to tear down the wall and find his dead wife, along with the cat. Like the beating heart to the Tell-Tale narrator, the cat had seduced [him] into murder as well as consigned [him] to the hangman (p328). Poes formula for horror is apparent in these two stories. Each narrator functions similarly as a study in the dark and perverse human mind.While there are, of course, differences in the plots and specific characterizations of the narrators, parallels can be made on every level, through each event, in each story.

Poe presents two figures, who confront fears in the most irrational and violent of ways, and in their attempts to rid themselves of these fears, they are trapped by their own madness. English Essays.