Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” shows us the similarities between the two stories and how they both result in the same ending. Both short stories explain the connection between a love and hate relationship, how both narrators are two-sided and how both narrators were brought to justice.
The first similarity I noticed between the two is there love and hate relationship for either the cat or the old man. In “The Black Cat” the narrator says, “Pluto—this was the cat’s name—was my favorite pet and playmate” (193). This shows how much the cat meant to him. It shows his love for the cat. Usually dog is man’s best friend but in this case the black cat is man’s best friend. The narrator comes home one night drunk and the cat makes him mad, and he cuts the black cat’s eye out. “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!” (194). This clearly shows how the narrator goes from being so in love with this cat to hating the cat and eventually killing the cat. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator says how he loved the old man and he had never disrespected him but what had driven the narrator to eventually hate the old man and kill him was the man’s eye. The eye was pale blue and reminded the narrator of a vulture. “I loved the old man. He never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this!” (187). These two examples both show the narrator’s love and hate for both the cat and old man. It is also odd to me that in both stories the victim’s eye always was the major target.
The second similarity that caught my eye is how both characters in the stories seem to be two-sided. This somewhat ties into my first point but both narrators’ show their love for the victim’s but eventually something clicks in their mind that eventually causes them to kill them. In “The Black Cat” the narrator says, “I aimed a blow at the animal, which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife” (198). What makes this passage so odd is how the narrator changes from a loving man to a person that killed his wife and did not even seem affected by it. In “The Tale-Tell Heart” the narrator pleads that he loved the old man. He never disrespected him. But, the old man’s eye caused so much discomfort and agony it caused the narrator to go insane. The narrator was shocked at seeing the old man’s blue pale eye at night which caused the narrator to kill him. “There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more” (190). This shows the similarity in both the stories and how something so simple can cause something in a person’s mind to just be so irritated to snap and do something they will regret.
The final similarity that I noticed is that both stories ended up with the same results. Both narrators’ went insane, they ended up killing someone and eventually the truth aroused and brought justice. In “The Black Cat” the narrator strikes his wife dead and hides the corpse behind the wall. The narrator says, “These walls---are you going, gentlemen? --- these walls are solidly put together” (200). In this passage the narrator believes he has out-smarted the cops and with his can beats on the wall where his wife’s corpse is. They hear a “meow” from Pluto that was accidently buried with his wife and the cops end up finding the corpse. The superstition of the black cat may have both been true and false. The black cat brought justice to the narrator when it was meowing by the dead corpse but also could have been bad luck to the narrator. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” after the narrator had killed the old man the cops came and searched the place and were convinced there was nothing to worry about. “My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears” (191). Eventually the ringing became too irritable and told the cops the truth. This passage shows how one way or another, guilt can bring a person to eventually tell the truth and bring justice upon themselves.
These three similarities in both short stories show the suspension and mystery in them. These type of short stories make people want to continue reading and analyzing because of the certain similarities and mysteries they have.
Poe, Edgar Allan, and J. Gerald Kennedy. The Portable Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.