The Black Cat

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  • Exposition
  • "But to-morrow I die, and to-day I wouldunburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place beforethe world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a seriesof mere household events." "We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat. This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree."
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  • Rising action 
  • "I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, moreregardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to useintemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offeredher personal violence." " But my disease grew upon me—for what disease islike Alcohol!—and at length even Pluto, who was nowbecoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish—evenPluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper."
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  • climax
  • One morning, in coldblood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to thelimb of a tree;—hung it with the tears streaming from myeyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart;—hung itbecause I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it hadgiven me no reason of offence;—hung it because I knew thatin so doing I was committing a sin—a deadly sin that wouldso jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it—if such athing were possible—even beyond the reach of the infinitemercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.
  • Falling action
  • Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal, which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded by the interference into a rage more than demoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot without a groan.
  • Resolution 
  • But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs ofthe Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of myblows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice fromwithin the tomb!—by a cry, at first muffled and broken, likethe sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into onelong, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous andinhuman—a howl—a wailing shriek, half of horror and halfof triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell,conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony andof the demons that exult in the damnation.
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