The Rise of the Underworld - Felines, Mythology and Psychology in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Författare: Maria Bylund; [2013-03-20]

Nyckelord: cats; myth; Hel; Odin; Bast; Paranoia; superstition;

Sammanfattning: The narrator in The Black Cat tells the story which leads him to the gallows. The unreliabletale depictures the morbid details of violence and murder, hauntings and terror. At the centreof the story is the cat which suffers from the narrator’s paranoia and alcohol abuse. Theduality of good and evil, reason and instinct shifts back and forth between man and animal asthe narrator unravels the chain of events which caused his concealed disposition to berevealed. By referencing to superstition and the uncanny, the narrator describes the cat as acreature of magical powers and ability to control and affect his actions and deeds. The“resurrection” of the cat adds further elements of mystique and brings the story beyond therealm of the living. The narrator’s decayed mind creates a hell in which he projectsresponsibility and guilt onto the cat. With this essay I will propose a broader analysis of thecat as a symbol for mythological deities such as Hel, Odin and Bast. Their characteristicsoffer a figurative description of the cat as victim, judge and executioner.

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