The Black Cat Connection

In “The Black Cat”, Poe explores the use of an animal as a delivery vehicle for a message from hell. Poe’s uses an animal, just as he did in “The Raven”, to torment the narrator and reveal some hidden secret, and to deliver them to their end.

The cat’s name is Pluto and serves as another reference to the god Pluto. Poe used the same reference in “The Raven” (Poe, 1996, p. 83). Pluto (as in Plutonian) was the god who ruled the underworld (James Hall, 2007, p. 257). Perhaps Poe is trying to tell the reader that cat was also from the underworld. After the narrator kills the cat, he finds another cat, which appears to be the same as the previous cat, save the image of the noose, or gallows on its chest. The cat continues to torment the narrator and eventually causes him to kill his wife and ultimately seal his fate.

In “The Raven”, there was the bust of Pallas that served to remind the narrator of his prior acts. In “The Black Cat” there is an image of the cat’s outline burned into the wall which serves to remind the narrator to he had done to the cat.

There is also the audible similarity between the two stories. In “The Raven” the bird constantly says “Nevermore” to every question or thought the narrator poses. This word is tied to the narrator’s fate, as was the cry of the cat behind the wall in “The Black Cat”. The two animals through their vocalization lead to the narrators’ end.

Works Cited
Poe, E. A. (1996). In P. F. Quinn, & G. R. Thompson, Poe Poetry, Tales & Selected Essays (p. 81). New York City: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.

James Hall, K. (. (2007). Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art. Westview Press.

"The Black Cat" Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley