Tales of Edgar Allan Poe (Part 1)
So, I haven’t quite figured out how to go about blogging for these short stories yet. Because I want to remember the individual stories as I do with a book, I guess I’ll just make a record each time I read a few (I’m going for 3 a week so I can finish this month) and then give a regular review of the book as a whole? Whatever– Oh ya, I’m not sure how to talk about a 10 pages story without spoilers, so these contain spoilers. Get over it.
Today, I read “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” The first and third I have read several times, so it was fun to revisit, but I had never read “The Black Cat” before. Perhaps I’m a little numb to the ones that I’m so familiar with, but yikes!! This one really creeped me out.
“The Cask of Amontillado”
is the story
of revenge in the most primal sense. Fortunado
some offense against the narrator (is it telling that we don’t know what
the offense was??). In order to seek his revenge, the narrator lures Fortunado
into the catacombs beneath Venice. Although he gives him several opportunities to leave the dank, dark maze, Fortunado
refuses. Once at the end of the pathway, the narrator chains a drunk Fortunado
to the catacomb wall and begins bricking the passageway until Fortunado
is sealed into his death. I love the irony of Fortunado’s
name; I love the pure vileness of Montresor
but also Fortunado’s
greed for superiority that continues to lead him to his grave after Montresor
gives him numerous outs. But to me, the creepiest part of the story is not really knowing what Fortunado
did to offend Montresor
(or, maybe I missed it!!). I don’t know how to upload it onto here, but I found a great cartoon on YouTube!
“The Black Cat”
is the story of, well, a black cat. Once upon a time there was a man
, a man who is NOT mad, mind you! Anyway, for reasons that I’m not quite sure of (is being drunk a good enough reason?), he begins tormenting the cat–beginning with the eye and finally ending with hanging it in the yard. The cat comes back to haunt him, although this time it is not exactly the same cat. The narrator (who is NOT mad), attempts to take an ax to the cat’s head but instead hits his wife in the head. So, he buries her in the cellar beneath the mucky plastered walls. Finally, he can sleep at night peacefully. When the police come to the house, he takes them to the basement (see, he says, not here!), but then a harrowing screech comes from beneath the walls. The wife is found nearly decomposed with the black cat. Having read this one for the first time, I was really bothered by his cruelty toward the cat (nevermind
the wife…I expected that). Other than that, it seemed very reminiscent of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
So, I was going to include a picture of “The Tell-Tale Heart” but just looking at them was going to give me nightmares, so I refrained. Again, this story is of a man who is so convinced that he is meticulous and thoughtful instead of demented and crazy, but in the end crazy wins! He is haunted by his neighbor’s eye, a pale blue eye that is filmed over. After watching his neighbor for seven nights, he kills him to rid himself of the eye (yes, very sane). But, as the police come to investigate, the man begins to hear the dead neighbor’s heart beating. At first very softly, then louder and louder until he is so consumed by the noise that he confesses to the police. I think that of all the Poe I’ve read, this one is my favorite. It is short and the narrative is concise and tight. And the justifications this narrator gives for his actions and motives–can’t beat it.
Alright, now that I’ve scared myself silly, I’m off to read something a little more…well, not crazy anyway!