Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: The Black Cat and The Cask of Amontillado

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe:
Edgar Allan Poe
Doubleday (1966), Hardcover, 832 pages

The Black Cat was first published in 1843.
The narrator tells about his black cat Pluto (Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld).
Pluto is especially fond of the narrator, but, one night, he comes home drunk and when he tries to seize the cat, it bites the man.
The narrator is angry with the cat, and later he hangs the cat from a tree.
Some time later the narrator finds another black cat and takes it home.
One day the narrator and his wife are visiting the house’s cellar while the cat nearly trips the man. He is infuriated and grabs an axe trying to kill the cat. The narrator’s wife stops him but she is killed instead of the black cat.
The man buries the woman, but when the police start to search her, the man breaks down and tells to the police where he has buried his wife.
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The Cask of Amontillado was first published in November 1846.
The story is set in a nameless Italian city.
The narrator, Montresor invites his friend Fortunato to drink a special wine called Amontillado.
Montresor thinking about ‘The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne …’ (p.191), chains Fortunato in a wine cellar’s niche and builds a wall to bury him alive.

At the end of The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat, the narrator, feeling guilty, confesses his murderers.
This time the murderer is unrepentant: the idea of ‘The thousand injuries’ to bury behind a brick’s wall sometimes works.
The feeling of guilt is suppressed: the new idea is dichotomy, such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson (1886), The Double by Dostoevsky (1846), etc.


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