Comparison between William Wilson and The Black Cat’s narrator

Subject: Literature
Pages: 4
Word count: 1190
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In Edgar Allan work-Poe’s story of the same name-the unnamed narrator proclaims that his legal name shall unceasingly remain to be a mystery simply because he wishes and prefers to uphold the purity of the page before him. Instead, he-the narrator-demands that the reader identifies him as William Wilson in the entire tale of crime and misery, which he is about to unleash. As such, the narrator explains that through his tale, the reader will comprehensively contemplate on his abrupt and complete turn to evil.

The Black Cat, on the other hand, introduces an unmanned character who has extensive and major issues. In the book, the unnamed character is deemed abusive, a murderer, and a bully. He has, as a result, made his home a misery and a living hell not only to himself but also to his wife and his pets. In this case, he is writing from his prison cell a moment prior to his scheduled death by hanging. Before then, he writes about his criminal life and his psychological transformation from a good person to an unruly individual and a villain. With regards to the Poe’s Story of the same name and The Black Cat, this article will compare the two characters-William Wilson, and the unmanned narrator and identify how they are figures of evil and self-loathing.

The two largely compares since they both have a humble ground from which their character slowly changes. Usually, beneath the black cat’s narrator peaceful portrayal and cool words, lie a suppressed anger and arrogance, which in this case suggest his capability for initializing and facilitating horrifying actions (Sova, Dawn B p. 35). This is justified through his contradicting actions towards his pets and his wife. Initially, the narrator demonstrates his condescending emotions towards humanity but later on despised the fact by performing a violent act towards his wife and his cat (Sova, Dawn B p. 35). Similarly, William Wilson compares to the narrator of the black cat in the sense that while in the Elizabethan house, he stands out as a colorful student and becomes a superiority over the rest of the students. With time, however, his characters gradually change, and he initializes his bad and selfish behaviors of harassing his schoolmates. On the other hand, William Wilson has temperamental feelings, and he is deeply rooted to selfish deeds, which highly contributes to his aggressiveness through evil acts. He also behaves in a wild way and acts as a big fool in most of his activities (Poe p.6). As such it became so much complex for his parents to contain his unruly behaviors. As a result, the narrator steadily developed his evil deeds, which in this case were facilitated through the various vices that he picked and adopted at different schools and locations.

Typically, the two characters also compare in the manner in which they chose to reveal their stories. In both cases, the stories are written when both William Wilson and the unmanned narrator were serving their jail term. In the black cat story, for instance, the narrator is profoundly inclined to writing about his story despite his trial and the fact that he was found guilty. As such, he was to serve a death sentence. This implies that through his trial, his lawyer did not raise the unnamed narrator insanity defense. Alternatively, this could also mean that the lawyer raised the concern but then the judges chose to ignore hence the verdict. Therefore, the unnamed narrator is thoughtfully writing this letter as an ultimate appeal hoping that it would have the capacity to question his sanity, and perhaps award him a fresh trial.

On the other hand, William Wilson is fully aware of his inhuman acts, he starts by introducing himself as an outcast, and he is determined to know whether he is forever and completely dead to those he offended and to the world in general. To start with, he, William Wilson, refers himself as a person who becomes evil all at once. Actually, he says that men have a tendency of becoming bad and evil in a slow pace. For him, however, he allowed all his good side to fade in a moment (Poe p. 6). In other words, it was not a gradual process as it is for many individuals. For that reason, he is fully aware that his death is fast approaching and therefore he chooses to write about his story. By doing so, he-just like the unnamed narrator in the black cat-hopes that the reader could see at least some extent of fatality in his story, which would then influence or rather enable the reader to find some degree of sympathy for what he got himself into and his character. Interestingly, William Wilson points out that his unruly and evil behaviors have exposed him to quite an extensive amount of temptation, torture, and suffering. Clearly, the two characters have a shared evil ground through which they extended their inhuman code of ethics to those close to them and to the rest of the demographics. Owing to their inhuman deeds, the two characters are now writing about their story as an appeal to those affected hoping that people would see some degree of their positive dimension, and hopefully revisit their judgment rather than subjecting them to what they would initially not control.

Notably, the two characters have differently facilitated and illustrated the spirit of perverseness. In the black cat, for instance, the unnamed narrator chooses to continuously break the law out of ignorance and, as a result, found himself performing silly deeds. This is despite his knowledge that it is wrong, and that he is not supposed to be doing whatever the action is for any given reason. In this case, the unnamed narrator acts as if he cannot acknowledge or rather distinguish between what is right or wrong to pursue. Essentially, the unnamed narrator states that it is due to his perverse nature that he was inclined to kill Pluto. In the event that the latter did not happen, he argues that the second cat could not have shown up and thus he could not have been forced to kill his wife. Similarly, William Wilson often got himself into acts that he solely knew had dire consequences. For example, at the end of his fifth year, he decides to carry out a cruel joke on his namesake (Grantz). This joke would significantly intrigue a whole extent of malice. Nonetheless, William does not seem to worry about this and therefore does it no matter the outcome (Grantz). Through this kind of a character, the two individual have continuously been depicted as figures of evil and people with not so much of self-love. This has been the reason the two characters have been vastly confined to criminal acts, which in this case have exposed them to serious consequences including death sentences. The two, however, seem to have noticed and learned of their faulty lifestyles and deeds and, as a result, seek for a chance to redeem themselves and perhaps seek for forgiveness through their respective writing.

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  1. Grantz, David. “The Poe Decoder – That Spectre in My Path.” Poedecoder.Com, 2017. Accessed 31 October 2017. www.poedecoder.com/essays/spectre/.
  2. Poe, Edgar Allan. The Story of William Wilson Part. https://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/the_story_of_william_wilson.pdf
  3. Sova, Dawn B. Critical Companion to Edgar Allan Poe. New York, Facts On File, 2008,.
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