Edgar Allen Poe’s
short stories, “The Black Cat” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are both about
murder. In “The Black Cat”, the narrator is a man who becomes an alcoholic and
kills his wife in the cellar. In “The Cask of Amontillado” Montresor is a man
who takes revenge on a friend by leaving him to die in the catacombs. Both
characters are guilty of murder, but reader may think that the narrator
deserves a milder punishment for the following reasons: he lost control, he did
not plan his murder, and he was an alcoholic and had no control over his
The first reason why the narrator deserves a
milder punishment is he lost control. Is clear in the story that the narrator
is an alcoholic. In the story, we can find many pieces of evidence show that
the narrator lost control and end up killing his favorite cat. For example, in
line 34 – 36 “The evil effects of alcohol filled every bone in me. I took from
my coat pocket a pen knife and opened it. I grabbed the beast from the throat
and cut one of its eyes from the socket!” Here we can see that alcohol took
control over the narrator and drives him crazy. He over consumes alcohol, when
he arrives at home and he grab his cat and consequently, he gave him a slight
wound upon his hand with his teeth. Later, the narrator feels so annoyed and
hangs his cat with a noose. However, Montresor didn’t lose control because of
alcohol. He gave alcohol to Fortunato to make him feel more drunk and take him
to the catacombs.
second reason why the narrator deserves a milder punishment is he didn’t plan
to his murder. In line “I was hurt a creature who had once loved me and now
disliked me so much. We went into the cellar of the old building, the cat
followed me down stairs. When it nearly causes me to fall, I became engaged” (Poe,
Black Cat). The narrator hangs his favorite cat and now was the turn on his new
cat, he became so annoyed with both cats. This happen because of the effects of
alcohol. When he killed Pluto, he used a noose. In this case with the new cat,
the narrator was about to kill him with an axe and give a blow at the animal.
The effects of alcohol were attacking him.
Montresor Torture his friend. He became furious when Fortunato insult him, and
he wanted to take revenge against him. He planned his crime very carefully, so
no one will realize what he did to Fortunato.
The third reason
why the narrator deserves a milder punishment is for not conceive of the crime.
“The blow was stopped by my wife’s hand. I was furious because she interfered.
I withdrew my arm from her hold and buried the axe in her brain” (Poe, Black
cat). He became more furious because his wife tries to defend the cat, the
narrator kills his wife with an axe in her brain she fell dead upon the spot.
The narrator knew what he did to his wife and he decided to hide the body up in
the cellar and no one will realize it. He did not torture his victim all of
this happen, because the effects of alcohol, we can see that in this part that
he lost his temper and he can’t handle himself. However, Montresor planned the
murder of Fortunato, the carnival season was the best place to take Fortunato
away because everyone was going to be drunk. Montresor lied to him and he make
Fortunato more drunk. He took him to the catacombs, then he covers the wall
with bones. He put him in chain. Without food and let him for 50 years. He felt
proud of what he had done.
As you can see,
above are three strong reasons why the narrator deserves a milder punishment.
He lost control, he didn’t plan to kill his favorite cat and he murder his
wife. In my view, an appropriate punishment for the narrator would be leaving
him in the jail for at least
ten years and take him to a therapy for alcoholic people.
While Montresor deserves a harsher punishment because he planned his crime, and
this is considered as first-degree murder. An appropriate punishment for
Montresor would be leaving him the whole life in jail.