Poe's writing does more than entertain the reader. It can be an insight into the dark and somber world of Edgar Allen Poe. One does not understand the meaning of Poe if it is read at the superficial level. He must read into Poe, and understand the hardships of his life and how he maintained them that way. He knew that death was an inevitable part of life, it is the price of life, but he tried to fight it as if it was an unnatural part of life. This theme of hardships and death is carried throughout Poe's writings. Some of the most striking similarities can be found between "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart", two short stories that divulge the inner workings of a perverse mind.
First, The plot of these stories is similar in many ways. "The Black Cat" is Poe's second psychological study of domestic violence and guilt (the first being "The Tell-Tale Heart"); however, this story does not deal with premeditated murder. The reader is told that the narrator appears to be a happily married man, who has always been exceedingly kind and gentle. He attributes his downfall to the "Fiend Intemperance" and "the spirit of perverseness." Perverseness, he believes, is ".one of the primitive impulses of the human heart." "Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a stupid action for no other reason than because he knows he should not?" Perverseness provides the rationale for otherwise unjustifiable acts, such as killing the first cat or rapping with his cane upon the plastered-up wall behind which stood his wife's corpse ".already greatly decayed and clotted with gore." .
We might argue that what the narrator calls "perverseness" is actually conscience. Guilt about his alcoholism seems to the narrator the "perverseness" which causes him to maim and kill the first cat. Guilt about those actions indirectly leads to the murder of his wife. The disclosure of the crime, as in "The Tell-Tale Heart," is caused by a warped sense of triumph and the conscience of the murderer.