How Can You Summarize Poe's "The Black Cat?"?


Quick Answer

Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat" is the story of a violent man who murders his cat and is slowly driven insane by his guilt. The story's protagonist then murders his wife and hides her body behind a plaster wall, but a black cat eventually reveals the crime.

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Full Answer

The narrator and his wife had many animals, including a black cat named Pluto. The narrator began to have violent, drunken mood swings, mistreating all of the animals except Pluto. One night, Pluto bites the narrator, who, in a drunken rage, cuts one of the cat's eyes out with a penknife. The next day, the narrator kills Pluto by hanging the cat from a tree.

The narrator begins to experience misfortunes, including the destruction of his house in a fire. A remaining wall of the burned structure is marked with the image of a cat with a rope around its neck. Soon, a new black cat appears, similar to Pluto but with a patch of white fur that the narrator eventually believes resembles a gallows. When the narrator's wife defends the cat from the narrator's violent attacks, the narrator murders her with an axe and hides her body in the wall. When the police arrive, the wife's body is revealed by the screeching of a cat behind a plaster wall.

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