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Embarking upon a journey to discover the limits of one's sanity and guilty conscience, "The Black Cat" is a perfect example of how no bad deed goes unpunished. Obsessively dark and violent, the story draws a psychological portrait of Poe's own miserable life spent in depression and alcoholism. Together with the superstitious symbolism of the black cat, Poe's narrative teems with guilt, violence, and dark portents. Similar to "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado", the story shows to what extent can man's barbarity and viciousness go, and how dire the consequences for his sanity can be.