The Romantic period has numerous characteristics that help to distinguish it from other literary periods. A large majority of the pieces found in this period have at least one of the distinctive elements. Edgar Allan Poe uses a few of these elements to put a time frame on his short story, “The Black Cat”. Poe begins his short story by saying that “For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief”. A big characteristic of Romanticism is a willing suspension of disbelief. It is never even thought that the plot to the story would be taken as being true, but rather as a made up story to get the attention of the reader.
This also allows the reader to imagine if such a case were to actually occur.
Each word that is read is meant to be doubted, and thought of as being absolutely bizarre, and with each new twist more doubt is created. Escapism, another key factor in Romanticism, is seen throughout the short story. The main character, who is never specifically identified, is running from his life by drinking alcohol. The alcohol eventually leads to the destruction of the first black cat, Pluto. The man felt the need to escape from Pluto even though the animal was one of his most beloved pets. His wife and the second cat are being run from merely for the disturbing conscious that they provide for him. Bizarre and unusual plots are often found in the Romantic period, and Poe does not hold back in his efforts. To deliberately cut the cats eye out of its socket is both bizarre and unusual regardless of being intoxicated or not.
Even further, to hang the cat by a noose is ranked borderline for insanity. But the most abnormal act is that of getting rid of your wife by creating a tomb in the walls of your home would definitely be insane. Such acts are used in this literary piece to illustrate clearly that many factors weigh in to the different writing periods.
The Romantic period, known for such elements as improbable plots and unlikely characters, is an important era in literature. Poe used a very unusual plot to create a vivid image of what the Romantic period truly was, and his work will be looked at for years to come.