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Word Count: 2,140
The respective narrators in Edgar Allan Poes The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat are nameless characters around whom each story revolves This is just as well considering the fact that the two narrators are almost interchangeable Both narrators are thematic symbols of the dark side of the human mind which characterizes much of Poes works of horror Each narrator moves through the action of his story virtually parallel to the other in his struggles with irrational fear innate perversity and obsessive mental fixations Although Poe does insert a few added dramatic elements into the story of The Black Cat these elements pull the two characters closer together instead of pushing them apart The reader can still easily see each man follow the same path through his narration he becomes consumed by his irrational fear then obsesses over the object which is the manifestation of this fear which then pushes him to violence against those associated with the obsession Poe brings the reader full circle using similar language and actions within both plots taking both narrators to the height of their madness and seeming triumph which in the end is their undoingBoth stories are narrated through the distorted eyes of a character that has been driven to madness on some level or another Each narrator begins his respective story by defending his sanity through a twisted sort of rationalization The narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart addresses question of his sanity twice in the first paragraph asking once of the reader why will you say that I am mad and then again asking How then am I mad p277 His defense lies in how healthily how calmly he can tell the reader the whole story This is the same rationale that the narrator of The Black Cat follows in his defense of his sanityJust as the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart presents his personal account of the events in the story as healthy and calm the
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