The Formuliac Narrators of Edgar Allan Poe

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The respective narrators in Edgar Allan Poe’s 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 Poe’s works of horror. Each narrator moves through the action of his story virtually parallel to the other, in …

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…stories. Each narrator functions similarly as a study in the dark and perverse human mind. While there are, of course, differences in the plots and specific characterizations of the narrators, parallels can be made on every level, through each event, in each story. Poe presents two figures, who confront fears in the most irrational and violent of ways, and in their attempts to rid themselves of these fears, they are trapped by their own madness.