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The Supernatural Element in 'The Black Cat'

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Within ‘The Black Cat’ Edgar Allan Poe reveals the ever-present activity of supernatural force seen in the cat. A cat leaves the impression that seemed to invoke the illusions that send the man’s life into a downward spiral, and that is his black cat, Pluto. Poe demonstrates the differences between fantasy and reality through the supernatural’s influence.

Poe demonstrates the differences between fantasy and reality through the supernatural’s influence. The narrator stays grounded in reality as he introduces mere household events but his loss of credibility because of his delusions and irrational decisions affected by the supernatural. The narrator named his black cat Pluto, which signified the underworld’s Roman god’s name, which foreshadows Pluto would be involved in the death. Moreover, he mentioned that his anti-superstition wife ‘made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise’. The narrator doesn’t believe in this belief, but people still look up to black cats to be an omen of misfortune and death so that he would meet with tragedy. The cat exemplifies one of the critical themes through their supernatural beliefs as the narrator lost the grip of reality after ‘saw, as if graven in bas-relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat … There was a rope about the animal’s neck’. The narrator’s perspective shared his feelings as his effort to make excuses for this corporeal he keeps denied seeing it like a cat, admits he’s feeling he deserve punishment. Another claim is the sign of inability to tell fantasy from reality: he adopts a second black cat similar to his deceased Pluto. He notices a difference from Pluto, which has a white mark: ‘image of a hideous — of a ghastly thing — of the GALLOWS!’. The gallows symbolize his guilt; initially, the image is ambiguous, but it becomes more apparent over time, which means his sin gets worse. However, it didn’t affect him because he doesn’t believe in it and blame his illness for Pluto’s death, which seemed to hide the fact that he avoids recognized madness. He also thought that everything, such as doppelganger cat, gallows, and cat on the wall, he sees is illusions. Poe uses gallows to foreshadow that the narrator would face his penalty shortly by hinting: ‘to-morrow I die’. The night the storyteller came home drunk and found that Pluto avoided him; he grasped Pluto, in return, Pluto bit his hand. Because of this bite, he was possessed by ‘the fury of a demon’. His soul ‘take its flight from’ his body; since black cat stigma is still surrounding him, he knows the power of the supernatural take control of his body, and he recognized there is an evil inside him. Yet, he stabbed the cat in the eye, showing excessive anger and making irrational decisions. Poe created a character who turned evil and made him aware of his morality issues yet didn’t do anything about it and kept act worse each day by day. From aware of the wrongs the narrator has done, he realized that the firm belief of black cats being witches in disguise is growing in his mind, and he may use it to make him innocent. However, the speaker not reliable because of drunkenness; he didn’t do anything that makes Pluto avoid him, and being drunk tricks his mind that his cat avoids him. He can’t overcome an alcohol addiction, which results in his illusion become worse as ‘Evil thoughts became my sole intimates — the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself …’ proved that he is under the illusion. The events that followed after Pluto’s hanging are related to supernational beliefs that a black cat associated with bad luck. Poe created the narrator, who experienced a mental change possibly caused by the supernatural, to establish a link between illusion and reality.

Edgar Allan Poe expressed the supernatural element in his story ‘The Black Cat,’ which brings the readers’ attention to this story by detail causes for the narrator’s spontaneous and irrational actions. The fact is that the narrator aware of his actions are immoral. Still, even with his common sense, he didn’t do anything about changing his state, which establishes that humans’ minds mislead themselves and let nature destroy them.

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The Supernatural Element in ‘The Black Cat’. (2022, April 21). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from
“The Supernatural Element in ‘The Black Cat’.” GradesFixer, 21 Apr. 2022,
The Supernatural Element in ‘The Black Cat’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jun. 2022].
The Supernatural Element in ‘The Black Cat’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 21 [cited 2022 Jun 29]. Available from:
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