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Alcoholism in The Black Cat

            Like many of Edgar Allan Poe's stories, The Black Cat ventures into the abnormal psychology in which the narrator is completely insane. The mysterious man narrating is an interesting character, one who contradicts himself at every twist and turn. The story opens with a man giving a full account of a horrifying experience he went through, blaming two cats for his eventual murder of his wife, for which he is about to be hanged for. He says that he is not "mad" and that this experience is no "dream" (Poe 1). .
             The narrator blames his actions throughout the story on his alcoholism, which is one of the main factors that caused this once loving humanitarian to turn into an impulsively violent, perverse, and intemperate murderer and abuser. This man is subject to uncontrollable, impulsive behavior. For example, the narrator comes home one night "much intoxicated" and cuts his black cat's eye out, merely because the animal avoided him. During this attack on his pet, he says that his "original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from [his] body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of [his] frame" (Poe 2). Alcohol can destroy the conscience of even the strongest mind and cause uncontrollable behavior, that of which the narrator's actions are a prime example.
             The narrator also states that he believes that "perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart" (Poe 2). One morning, a few days or weeks after the he gouged out his black cat's eye, he hangs his cat. Poe implies that the narrator is almost always drunk, so this action would have most likely been done under the influence. The narrator first claims that he did it "because [he] knew that [the cat] had loved [him], and because [he] felt it had given [him] no reason of offence." Only a few short words later, he says that he "hung it because [he] knew that in so doing [he] was committing a sin -- a deadly sin that would so jeopardize [his] immortal soul.

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