More likely the cat was just unlucky (l. 1-2). In this narrative poem Curiosity , by Alastair Reid, he gives a dissertation on cats and dogs. Cats are adventurous and dogs do not take chances. Reid uses symbols Have you ever heard the saying curiosity killed the cat (l. 1)? and allegory to disclose the theme that life can be more fulfilling if one opens the door to new and different prospects.
In Curiosity , Reid describes the lives of cats and dogs as though they are everyday people. Cats, being the inquisitive ones, are willing to lead a life of risk-taking without weighing the consequences. Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible, are changeable, marry too many wives, desert their children, chill all dinner tables with tales of their nine lives. (ll. 27-30). Cats feel like the dogs live boring lives, but the speaker believes that the cats are just curious to see what death was like, having no cause to go on licking paws, or fathering litter on litter of kittens, predictably. (ll. 2-5) The dogs, the other symbol used for people, are the ones afraid to break the monotony of their everyday lives consisting of doggy circles where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches are the order of things, and where prevails much wagging of incurious heads and tails. (ll. 11-14). They refuse to take chances because of possible detrimental outcomes that could alter their lives. Nevertheless, to be curious is dangerous enough. (ll. 6-7).
Reid uses the poetic device, allegory, to convey a moral to the readers of this poem. He emphasizes the principles of the cats to demonstrate that people should not conform to a simple life just because they may not have control of the end results. . . . That dying is what the living do, that dying is what the loving do, and that dead dogs are those who do not know that dying is what, to live, each has to do. (ll. 41-44). These powerful words illustrate that cats do not have fear of the unknown and do not accept life as it is handed to them.
And so, in this poem, symbol and allegory expresses the contrasting types of people and how exploring different prospects can change their lives. With Alastair Reid s vivid descriptions of both cats and dogs, he poses the question: which lifestyle is superior? Face it. Curiosity will not cause us to die only lack of it will. (ll.15-17).