Psychoanalyzing the Black Cat Essay

Words: 2019
Pages: 9

Tyler Bennett
Dr. Kyburz
November 26, 2012
Uncanny Cat Edger Allen Poe’s short story The Black Cat’s plot consists of a rather horrifying narrative provided by the narrator, whom remains unnamed. The story begins as a simple re telling of events from the narrator’s life. This “self reflection” was brought on by the narrator’s imminent execution on the following day—the cause of his execution remains shrouded behind statements indicating the common place. The narrator comments on his childhood stating that “…I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions” (Poe 18). It was this that caused the narrator to prefer the company of
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But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS” (Poe 18, 20). Thus bringing to light another definition of the uncanny, “as something which ought to have been kept concealed but which has nevertheless come to light” (Freud 13). It is at this moment that the man the narrator had once been died and a “new” man has taken his place; a perverse man.
In this perverse state the narrator continues to fall deeper into his madness. The narrator accounts, “It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself - to offer violence to its own nature - to do wrong for the wrong's sake only - that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree…” (Poe 20) With the hanging of the cat the narrator has taken his first true steps into embodying the uncanny. Freud theorizes that, “We also call a living person uncanny, usually when we ascribe evil motives to him. But that is not all; we must not only credit him with bad intentions but must attribute to these intentions capacity to achieve their aim in virtue of certain special powers” (Freud 14). The madness the narrator has shown to posses is his “special power” of the uncanny.
The narrator’s madness that has taken hold of him proves that as Freud theorized a madman holds “special powers” of which