Compare and contrast
Edgar Allan Poe is a narrator who we can describe as nervous but not mad. What he thinks is that when we read his two outstanding pieces of work, we probably think that he is insane but this is not true. What we perhaps call his madness fails to be his madness but a sense of hearing acute in him. In addition, Edgar believes that the quick, low dull sound- much like a sound made by the watch enveloped in cotton is actually the song of the beating heart of an old man. Those believes, which the narrator has are in fact the most important reasons, which motivate him to behave the way he behaves in the two stories. He understands a number of these motivations at a great extent. However, there are a number of them where he is hallucinated.
“The Black cat” and “Tell Tale Heart” by this author are two stories that concern hysteria and madness. These two stories are essentially written from perspective of seemingly normal character. It is worth noting that the two stories are trying to demonstrate their sanity to everyone who reads them. Ironically, in these two stories trying to rationalize the actions in them, they exactly prove how mad or insane they are. We can see these similarities through the narrator’s use of irrational behavior and murder as well as how he uses structure and pace throughout the two stories. Edgar uses murder to show the insanity of both the characters in the two stories. He wrote the two stories from the perspective of an individual who believed that somebody could commit such a crazy and insane act at any particular moment.
The differences and similarities in the narration of these two stories essentially shape our understanding of the theme of insanity or its meaning. These two stories posses various things in common. However, the two stories posses various significant differences. Concerning the similarities between the two, the “Tell Tale heart” narrator killed the old man due to his evil eye where we read that he hid that man’s heart in floor. This narrator thought that he had heard this heart thumping and this made him to become very guilty that he actually killed this old man because of the reason that he had an evil eye. We thus realize this man’s insanity.
On the other hand, in “Black cat,” it was mainly the same thing but in this case, he killed the cat, which was very near and also dear to him. The reason why he killed this cut is something that we cannot understand and he promised to himself that he would not repeat this again. We observe his insanity further where we read that he got another cat where he decided to murder it, but accidentally without any intention took an axe and murdered his wife. We understand the theme of insanity further when we read that this man tried to bury his wife’s body in the part of house where he builds bricks around it so that no one will realize. It is interesting to note that he had buried his dead wife with the cat and this cat scratched on the wall hence this made the police to realize what was going on in his house. Thu, the similarities between the two is that both of the two characters had buried their victims.
The other similarity between the two is that, in “The Black Cat” story, we observe the narrator demonstrating that he is insane. He says that he is a kind person and that he respects friendship fidelity. He in fact loves pets and likes very much to hang out with these pets. He however has a lot of unconscious and conscious feeling, which motivate him to behave like a mad person. Really, he does not comprehend all these motivations, particularly his own behaviors and reasons for actions that he engages himself. The psychological basis for horror is that this man starts being afraid with the new cat since it keeps following him all the time. In “Tell Tale Heart,” the narrator plans to kill the old man. In addition, he believes he is normal. This belief is actually of conscious feelings, which make him to behave the way he behaves in the story. Poe utilizes murder in the two stories to demonstrate the narrators’ insanity. In the two stories, we observe a horrible murder being committed. Ironically, in the two stories, the narrators are so confident that they have hidden the body in a good manner but we observe that they lead the police to the spot where these bodies are placed. Thus, this similarity helps us in understanding the concept of insanity.
“The Tell Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” possess a same construction because both of them start with unnamed narrator insisting upon his sanity but ends with revealed murder. Nevertheless, despite the similarities that they share, these two stories contain different interpretations about the onset of insanity. “The Black Cat” narrator shows some signs that he comprehends his transformation, but he is utterly helpless to end it. The source of the insanity of the narrator in “The Tell Tale Heart” is not provided. He gives no any indication that he has an understanding on anything occurring outside his thoughts. In Edgar’s analysis, the concept of insanity may be human nature extremes natural outcropping. In addition, since it is intrinsic to the human beings, men may fail to set upon path to madness with no ability or warning to return to the sanity.
The differences that the author uses in these two stories also help us in our understanding of the meaning of insanity. One of the differences in the two narrations is how after reading it we find out how they end. We find out in “The Black Cat” that its ending is in traditional format. However, in “The Tell Tale Heart” as we read it we know its ending at the beginning of the narration. The benefit of having these two stories come in full circles is, it allows us to try to focus on the other aspects in the two sets of work all of which enhance our understanding of the concept of insanity. He makes his ending in the “The Tell Tale Heart” very clear to us, and in doing so, he makes us read it with anticipation that makes this particular story more enjoyable to us hence, we understand the concept of insanity better. In “The Black Cat,” his writing is in a more traditional sense. This method contains its advantages as well. This way of writing is in fact having this story flow from the beginning to the end. Therefore, this method of writing makes us further understand the theme of insanity in the story.
The other difference in the two stories that enhance our understanding of the concept of insanity in the technique, which the author utilizes between the two, is actually the he places anger. In “The Black Cat,” we find the main character’s insanity when he decides to displace the anger he has on an animal that he did not have prior qualms with. On the other hand, in “The Tell Tale Heart,” the anger of the main character is in fact placed on direct object of whom he actually has problem with. Thus, this helps us to understand the theme of insanity as presented by the author. In my own opinion, the author bin these two stories is actually trying to convey to us that at times we direct our anger at things that cannot fight back, which is total insanity.
For that reason, in these two stories, we observe that the main theme that Poe is trying to put across is insanity. He has used narrators whom we can describe as murderers and madmen, and we observe that they do not disguise their rationality lack with the discussion of their processes in thought. In a number of cases, the concept of insanity in the two stories is actually interlocked with the emotional egotism of the narrators. In the two stories by Poe, there are a number of quotes he utilizes to enhance our understanding of the theme of insanity. For instance, starting with “The Black Cat,” we can observe a number of quotes that Poe has used to make us understand the concept of insanity better.
One of the quotes is "my disease grew upon me--for what disease is like Alcohol!--and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish--even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper." This shows the insanity of the narrator where we observe that he was a drunkard.
The second quote is "I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame."
On the third quote, the narrator argues that, "This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. 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."
On the fourth quote, the insane narrator says that, “I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity."
Finally, the narrator says that, “And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity." These five quotes clearly show that the narrator was mad hence enhance our understanding of the theme of insanity.
Conversely, in “The Tell Tale Heart,” we can observe a number of quotes that the author uses to enhance our understanding of the concept of insanity. For, examples the following are the quotes that we observe when we read this story.
In the first quote, the narrator argues that, “Villains!' I shrieked. 'Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!”
In the second quote, we observe him saying that, “Now this is the point. You fancy me a mad. Madmen know nothing. However, you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded”
In the third quote, the same narrator says that, “True! - Nervous - very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?”
In the fourth quote, we observe him saying that, “And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.”
Finally, the other quote in this story that demonstrates the theme of insanity is, “TRUE! – Nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”
In a nut shell, it is worth noting that the quotes in both the stories directly demonstrate the theme of insanity. The narrators in both of these stories use terms that directly show their insanity. Poe has succeeded in demonstrating the theme of insanity in the two stories and the similarities and differences that he uses in the two narrations enhance our understanding of this theme. Therefore, he is a world winning writer as he uses his writing skills to demonstrate a single theme in two stories.