The Cask of Amontillado Analysis Essay

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“The short story ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ was inscribed by Edgar Allan Poe, the story is about a gentleman named Montresor who decides to take vengeance on another man named Fortunato. He accuses Fortunato of always insulting him and plans his revenge mission well. He meets Fortunato at the carnival and decoys him into the mausoleums at his household and entombs him alive by building a wall to cover him so that he can die slowly. “The story is told in the first person narrator who claims that Fortunato has hurt him by insulting him” (Poe, 2012), clearly, but this only takes the readers in circles as they cannot tell the authenticity of Montresor’s claims and even though this is not clear he still plans to take revenge on Fortunato. This paper will give a detailed analysis of the author’s symbolism to strengthen the ideas in the story.

Symbolism means using symbols to signify ideas and qualities and the meaning of the symbols are always different from the literal sense (Francisci, 2014). This is generally the use of objects to represent the actual with a significant meaning. Symbolism is an important literary device, and the author uses it to bring out the meaning and emotion more clearly. The name of the book is coined out from the use of symbols; The cask of Amontillado is the stunt that Montresor uses to draw Fortunato closer to him and then killing him. Cask symbolizes two items, the first is the casket, and this indicates the Bricked casket that Montresor will later on use to bury Fortunato.

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The author is a principal in the use of allegory as he employs them throughout the story; the choice of the setting is the first symbolism that he applies. “The ultimate madness of the festival season” (Poe, 2012), signifies a jolly time, and this is the time that Montresor finds the opportunity to lure Fortunato to the house for his planned murder. Since this was a time for celebration and merrymaking, it was the right time for the planned murder to be executed because Fortunato loved drinking and he would do anything to get his hands on the barrel and Montresor knew so. “”It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend”” (Poe, 2012). As the story progresses it shifts to the catacombs full of dead bodies and then Montresor decides to entrap Fortunato, and he moves from freedom to imprisonment as he is left to die in the underground graveyard.

The story begins with Montresor vowing to seek revenge upon Fortunato for his persistent insults: “THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe, 2012). Montresor’s mission of revenge is not depicted at the beginning of the story, but he claims that he will punish and his punishment is that of impunity (Hashmi, 2003). As the story progresses, he lures Fortunato to the catacomb of the family house where he keeps the wine and leads Fortunato deeper and deeper into the catacomb and also making him tanked-up along the way.

Montresor’s suggests that Fortunato is not fit to go deep, but Fortunato is more focused on the Amontillado until he gets the man-sized hole that is part of the catacomb and Montresor chained him then he closes the hole by filling it with bricks which symbolizes the casket that he was buried in and hence the name the Cask. The tile of the story holds two symbols first being the casket from the cask and the second is the Amontillado which represents the two bases of Fortunato’s death, he is very sloshed and hitherto he still agrees to go with Montresor because he knew that the trip would either lead to free wine or a demeaned Montresor (Urstad, 1994). Amontillado shows inclination and Fortunato is ready to go to the cemetery to get the good wine which makes him susceptible to Montresor’s flattery. The wine deceives him, and the Amontillado which represents pleasure leads to his death. “”My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts”” (Poe, 2012).

The motto of the Montresor family was another symbol that Fortunato would have heeded to, but his love for good wine did not allow him to read between the lines because he was focused on finding the Amontillado (Kerfoot, 2016). “”Nemo me impune lacessit”” (Poe 2012), and this meant that anyone who does anything questionable would be punished with impunity. The emblem of the family had the head of the serpent as it gets its daggers into a leg. Montresor follows suit by destroying the serpent which is killing Fortunato who has been insulting him.

The names of characters are one more form of symbolic that the author uses to make the reader move further away from Fortunato as the narrator is Montresor (Penrice, 1991). Fortunato represents the name fortunate but whatever happens to him in the story does not represent the meaning of being lucky because he ends up being trapped by Montresor and then killed. Fortunato does not deserve death just because Montresor claims that he insulted him, Montresor has always wished for the downfall of Fortunato as indicated at the beginning of the story. Montresor, on the other hand, means to show fate according to the romance languages, but he portrays a different character, his pleasure comes from hurting other people, and he signifies revenge in the eyes of other men. His treasure lies in killing Fortunato, and he believes that for freedom of one character the other must be dead.

Fortunato dressing represents that of a fool giving the symbolic meaning of a fool because he allows Montresor to trick him into the family graveyard where he is trapped. “”The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells” (Poe 2012). Montresor tells him that he has the cask of Amontillado and because he loves wines even if he is drunk, he quickly agrees to join him. “”My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts”” (Poe 2012). He trusts Montresor so quickly that he agrees to go with him to taste the Amontillado and this leads to his death. Montresor tries to warn him by asking him if they can go back, but he insists on proceeding ahead. “”Come,”” I said, with decision, “”we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me, it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi –“ (Poe, 2012).

In conclusion, symbolism has an essential function in the plot of this story as it brings out the themes starting with the characters names then the story title which portrays the storyline in the story. Symbolism is important because it provides more information regarding character for instance in the short story of “The cask of Amontillado” it describes Fortunato based on his dressing style which shows his level of intelligence.”

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The Cask of Amontillado Analysis Essay. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from