Poe's Stories

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A man who describes himself as a docile youth with a love of animals, yet it is clear from the beginning of the story that the narrator is telling his story from prison. The duality of his personality, passionate but temperamental becomes clearer and clearer as he loses patience with his loved ones and commits horrific acts of violence. His guilt affects him hugely, as does his paranoia, superstition and, like many of Poe’s characters, vices like alcohol and opium. In the end, his crimes haunt and condemn him to the gallows, just as he feared.

Narrator (The Black Cat) Quotes in Poe's Stories

The Poe's Stories quotes below are all either spoken by Narrator (The Black Cat) or refer to Narrator (The Black Cat). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Poe's Stories published in 2006.
The Black Cat Quotes

I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

Related Characters: Narrator (The Black Cat) (speaker), The Black Cat (speaker)
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the narrator of the story tortures his own cat by gouging out one of its eyes with his knife. What's interesting to notice in this passage is that the narrator seems both remorseful and remorseless as he describes how he tortured his pet. On one hand, the narrator describes the cat as a "poor beast," and claims that he shudders as he writes about his own actions. On the other hand, the narrator seems to have hurt his cat without any real remorse at the time-it's only later that he begins to regret his actions.

In short, the narrator is a deeply divided person--simultaneously good and evil, attracted and repelled by crime. In Poe's stories, the narrators' greatest enemies are themselves--they're trapped by their own divided natures, and can't commit a crime without later being wracked by their own self-hatred.

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Narrator (The Black Cat) Character Timeline in Poe's Stories

The timeline below shows where the character Narrator (The Black Cat) appears in Poe's Stories. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Black Cat
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "The Black Cat" begins by saying that we probably won’t believe what he is about to tell us.... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "The Black Cat" tells us of his boyhood, which was easy. He had a particular love of animals... (full context)
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
This cat was unusually large and intelligent. The narrator of "The Black Cat" remembers how his wife used to talk about the superstition that black cats are all... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Meanwhile, though, the mood of the narrator of "The Black Cat" became progressively worse. He drank a lot and suffered from bouts of very bad temper,... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
In the morning, the narrator of "The Black Cat" felt horrible about the cruel act. The cat’s eye socket healed, but he now knew... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
That very night, the narrator of "The Black Cat" and his wife were awoken by the sound of flames. The house was on fire.... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The narrator of "The Black Cat" tries to logically explain how it could have happened. The cat must have been thrown... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
One day, in a den of disrepute, the narrator of "The Black Cat" suddenly spots a cat atop a barrel of alcohol he’s been staring at. The cat... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "The Black Cat" starts to avoid the creature, partly out of this hatred but also from shame at... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
The narrator of "The Black Cat" tries to explain that this dread is not because of the apparent evil of the... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
In this state of permanent torture, all the goodness that the narrator of "The Black Cat" had in his heart has disappeared. His evil instincts take over, and even his wife... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
The plan works. The narrator of the "Black Cat" removes the bricks covering the fireplace, and puts the body in and covers it again.... (full context)
Rivals and Doppelgangers Theme Icon
The Dead and the Living Theme Icon
The Gothic Style Theme Icon
Self, Solitude, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...some policemen arrive to search the property, but knowing that his stowing place is perfect, the narrator of the "Black Cat" is not embarrassed and leads the officers in a full tour of the house. He... (full context)