Isaac Frimpong

ENG 3407

Prof. Scanlan


                              THE TWISTED MIND OF MADMEN

      The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. These characteristics are displayed by these 2 characters “Mr. Hyde” from “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the Narrator from “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe. Despite their differences in morality and the motive behind their cruel actions, both characters share some similarities when it comes to the spirit of perverseness, and this helps the reader to be able to judge and understand their actions and reasons to why they are so violent and commit extreme cruel acts towards others.

      The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” took place in Victorian London but to be even more specific the setting was a strange door that was discovered by Mr. Einstein and Mr. Utterson. The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde talks about Dr. Jekyll who is an intelligent scientist, interferes with the dark side of science creating Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll occasionally transforms into Mr. Hyde who does these evil deeds which Dr. Jekyll is totally against. As time goes on Dr. Jekyll gradually loses control over himself to Mr. Hyde and Mr. Hyde continues doing the forbidden towards others. Dr. Jekyll couldn’t live with the guilt of Mr. Hyde’s actions so he ended up taking his own life putting an end to Mr. Hyde and hoping to redeem himself. “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe has a complex setting. The story was written from the narrator’s cell moments before his execution then backtracks to his initial house which later burned down. His house was filled with animals in fact he was portrayed as an animal who loved and treated all pets with care and respect. The narrator who violently mistreats his wife and his black cat Pluto when he gets drunk becomes a threat to everyone in his house. Pluto starts to distance himself from him due to how the narrator tortures him after he drowns himself in alcohol. One day the narrator ends up cutting one of Pluto’s eyes out and hangs it killing Pluto. The narrator later discovers a new cat who was missing an eye too and kept it. His guilt got the best of him when he couldn’t stand the sight of the cat because it reminded him of Pluto and accidentally killing his wife with an axe trying to harm the cat. The body of his wife was discovered when the police vi.

       The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. Both characters  Mr. Hyde from “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ” and the narrator from “ Black Cat” share a similar Spirit of Perverseness. Mr. Hyde kills a respected old man Sir Danvers Carew mercilessly beating him up with a walking stick. The attack was explained in the letter Dr. Jekyll left for Mr. Utterson. In the story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde”by Robert Louis Stevenson Dr. Jekyll states,”And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot, and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway”( Page 37 ). Mr. Hyde shows no remorse for this murder or even shows a slight feeling of guilt, Mrr Hyde allows Dr.Jekyll to do these bad things and Mr. Hyde doesn’t feel guilty but Dr.Jekyll does. Hyde allows him to escape from the guilt because deep down Dr.Jekyll wanted to do these bad things but should we allow Dr. Jekyll to escape with these murders just because he is someone else? Absolutely not. The spirit of perverseness in “The Black Cat” was the narrator harming and torturing Pluto and finally killing him for no reason. The narrator showed no remorse for torturing Pluto every day after he gets drunk until he finally kills it. According to the narrator in “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe,”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.” (Page 39) The narrator clearly didn’t feel any guilt because he drowned himself in alcohol to forget the cruel things he has done then gets back and does worse. Mr. Hyde and the narrator show no remorse and lack empathy which eventually comes back to haunt them. In the “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “ The Black Cat” their style of narration or changes in the focal does not alter the reader or understanding because their cruel actions committed by these two characters shouldn’t be excused or forgiven whether they were under the influence of a substance or possessed. They should be held responsible for their actions

        In “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, the central gothic irony was centered around Death. The narrator kills Pluto, his favorite pet, and then accidentally kills his lovely wife and now he is about to get executed. The wife of the narrator’s innocence is betrayed by the narrator through the oppression of females by violently mistreating her continuously.“I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence.” (Page 4 Paragraph 4)   The narrator’s growing instability starts to make readers anxious about the length he will go to harm his wife and the rest of the animals around him just to feed his dying thirst for violence. The narrator desires normalcy because after murdering Pluto, the narrator later found another cat with the same physical features as  Pluto’s, he thought he could redeem himself with this newfound cat. He saw this opportunity as a second chance to right his wrongs. The scene where the narrator found the new cat falls under Todorovv’s Uncanny term. The cat the narrator found was strange-looking because it mysteriously had a missing eye just like Pluto and looked like Pluto in every physical way except the color of its fur which not all black like Pluto it had white patches.

     The central gothic irony in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ” is finding out that Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll are the same people in one body. Unlike the narrator from “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe, Mr. Hyde didn’t need alcohol or anything else to motivate him to violently attack and murder others, it was embedded in him. Mr. Hyde was the evil twin of Dr. Jekyll running around doing bad activities that deep down Dr. Jekyll intended to know the feeling of what it felt to be bad and violent to the society. Dr. Jekylls innocence was betrayed by Mr. Hyde because Mr. Hyde began to take full control of Dr. Jekyll’s body and started to brutally murder people which Dr. Jekyll didn’t approve of. Mr. Hyde was out of control and his thirst for violence painted a bad picture of Dr. Jekyll and made him suspicious toward his peers. Mr. Hyde fights against normalcy and explores the path of violent actions and wrongdoings towards innocent victims. Mr. Hyde has no place in his heart for remorse better yet even thinks of what his actions are doing to Dr. Jekyll personally. The experiment that was done by Dr. Jekyll resulting in the creation of Mr. Hyde, his evil side will be considered Todorov’s definition of Marvelous, that experiment is not possible on earth and the scene was so much more of a fantasy than reality. Mr. Hyde’s actions were very selfish but he was Dr. Jekyll’s mistake so everything he did was Dr. Jekyll’s fault, Dr. Jekyll had blood on his hands because of Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll wanted to redeem himself, he wanted to put an end to his feelings of guilt, and the only for him to that was to commit suicide killing himself and Mr. Hyde.“ God knows; I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns other than myself. Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.” (Page 141 ), doing this Mr. Hyde reign of violence came to an end.

            Finally, The violent actions of individuals shouldn’t be excused just because they were under the influence of a substance or possessed by someone. Mr. Hyde from “ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and the narrator from “The Black Cat” both engaged in the spirit of perverseness. Mr. Hyde killed Sir Danvers Carew for no reason and the narrator tortured and murdered Pluto for no reason. They both lack remorse and lack empathy and it comes back to haunt them.