Quotes from 'The Black Cat' by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe's Famous Halloween-Like Scary Story

"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe is a favorite for scary-storytelling and Halloween imaginings. The story centers around a cat, but it soon becomes a psychological study, as we watch the owner become more and more erratic. It's a first-person narrative, which makes the story all the more memorable. Here are a few quotes from the short story.

Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Black Cat'

  • "For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief."
     
  • "There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man."
     
  • "In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise."
     
  • "...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."
     
  • "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."
     
  • "Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart--one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man."
     
  • "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."
     
  • "I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity."
     
  • "For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place."
     
  • "This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil-and yet I should be at a loss how otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own--yes, even in this felon's cell, I am almost ashamed to own--that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimeras it would be possible to conceive."
     
  • "It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name --and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared --it was now, I say, the image of a hideous--of a ghastly thing--of the GALLOWS!--oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime--of Agony and of Death!"
     
  • "And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity."
     
  • "Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates--the darkest and most evil of thoughts."
     
  • "No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb!--by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman--a howl--a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the damned in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation."
     

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