Comparing and Contrasting Darkness in Poe’s ‘Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘Raven’

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Edgar Allen Poe one of the greatest American poets to ever have been around. The stories “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Raven” are typically seen as dark and mystical pieces of literature. Both stories consist of a few major similarities such as the tone and the way the stories ended. With the few similar qualities they both have a few ways that they are different like the rhyme scheme and the difference in diction.

In “the Cask of Amontillado” and “the Raven” Edgar Allen Poe used a mixture of loneliness, darkness and mystery in these settings.

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The setting of “the Raven” takes place in a dark musty mansion the way that I know the setting for “the Raven” is dark is by the first line “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.” (line 1, page 730) this opening sentence reveals to us as the readers that Poe wanted the setting to be viewed as dark and scary. Midnight typically has the meaning the beginning of something and dreary has the meaning of being unhappy. Which will also lead to the meaning of death because when something comes to and end that usually means that there is no more which is associated with death. In the “Cask of Amontillado” the setting is set in the catacombs under the streets of Italy. In this story Edgar Allen Poe paints the same setting as in the raven for the viewers to envision the dark setting, the catacombs are set as the burial grounds for the Italians. And it took place on a night that was supposed to be full of laughter and fun. Poe had a different outlook on the carnival. Edgar saw the carnival as “… supreme madness…” (line 1-5 page 116) In both “the Cask of Amontillado” and “the Raven” Poe uses bones, bodies, bleak December, and dying amber as key words to enhance the darkness in both of these stories. Both stories Poe’s intentions were to keep the readers on their toes and when the readers thought they knew how everything was going to pan out it took another turn. Also in these stories you can tell something is bothering the narrators and that makes them go insane. And last but not least both of these stories have the grim atmosphere and symbols of death also known as macabre. In “the Raven” the bird made the narrator think about his wife who passed away and haunted him every night. And in “the Cask of Amontillado” out of pure spitefulness and jealousy Montresor killed Fortunato.

One of the major differences these two stories have is one is a poem and the other a short story. But the diction and suspense in these stories are what really tell them apart. In “the raven” being a poem Edgar Allen Poe used a strict rhythmic scheme and repetition to enhance and elongate the poems pace. And in the story “the Cask of Amontillado” the story did not have a repetition or rhythm to it at all. Another difference “the Raven” and “the Cask of Amontillado” has is the conflicts within the stories. In “the Raven” it is clear that the conflict within the story was narrator versus animal “what it utters is its only stock and store caught from some unhappy master whom disaster followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore- till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore- of ‘never-nevermore.” (line 60-66 page 732) These lines explain how the raven is known to carry the sorrows of people when a loved one has passed. And the narrator is the one dealing with the loss and see the raven as the thing bringing his sorrow. In “the Cask of Amontillado” the conflict within the story is narrator versus man. “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” (line 1 page 115) in this quote you can see that the Montresor feels insulted by the rich man. Most people would not kill others because they felt insulted and especially with how much planning the narrator did in “the Cask of Amontillado.” The last way these two stories are different is how in the poem there was not a in depth description on the characters and how the characters thought or felt about the situation. But in the story “the Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allen Poe went into depth about what his characters were feeling and what went through their heads.

In conclusion both of these genius stories “the Cask of Amontillado” and “the Raven” have similarities such as they have the same genius author Edgar Allen Poe, they have the same dark, lonely, and mysterious settings. These stories also have the same way of suspense and way of keeping the readers on the toes. Also, in these stories both narrators go mad and end up going insane. The last way these stories are similar is the macabre they both share. And with these similarities there come the differences in both stories. One of the differences is ‘the Raven” is a poem with a very strict rhythmic scheme and in “the Cask of Amontillado” it is a short story that has no rhythm at all. The final way these stories differed from each other was how one went into depth about how the characters looked and how they felt and how they thought about everything.

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Comparing and Contrasting Darkness in Poe’s ‘Cask of Amontillado’ and ‘Raven’. (2020, Apr 24). Retrieved from