“The Cask of Amontillado” Analysis

Category: Literature
Date added
2019/04/10
Pages:  4
Words:  1315
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“The Cask Of Amontillado” Analysis

The short story “The Cask Of Amontillado” written by author Edgar Allen Poe, unfolds agrisly act of revenge performed by Montresor against his noble Fortunato because he insults him. This vengeance leads to the Montresor murdering his noble Fortunato, the story depicts a picture of punishment and terror. Montresor uses revenge against one of his best friends but underneath the horror can be simplified to him actually being a character whom is rather prideful and clever causing him to commit a successful murder and feel no guilt. The author Poe uses a variety of fictional elements to reveal Montresor’s dark essence, the concept of revenge, and the dark setting to help increase the atmosphere of horror in this gothic story.

In “The Cask Of Amontillado” Poe takes the reader on a trip into the mind of what many would say is a mad man, however, we learn that Montresor is not a mad man but rather a prideful man. The story tells of what appears to be a horrifying act of revenge, made even more horrifying by the fact that vengeance is being taken without there being a real offense known. However, it is clearly seen in the character of Montresor how pride is actually very powerful, early on we are introduced to this characteristic trait. His pride is so great that “…when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe, 402). Montresor refuses to let himself be put down by anyone else because he would then seem inferior and frail, this causes him to plan his act of revenge on Fortunato carefully. Montresor’s pride stems from his family name, their family motto “Nemo me impune lacessit,” meaning “No one attacks me with impunity” (Poe, 405).

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This lets us know that his ancestors too felt that they were above letting anyone address them in a way that might be expressing disapproval or disappointment. It shows that the ancestors were prideful, they felt that if anyone were to attack them that they would be dealt with a bigger force. This explains why it is the Montresor cannot look past Fortunato insulting him, he feels that it is only right to quell any “serpent” (Poe, 405) who would have the courage to attack him and his honorable name. This particular belief is what leads Montresor to his moral downfall, planning and executing the murder of his best friend Fortunato.

Montresor’s character is not only prideful but also very clever, unfailing performance in tricking Fortunato into his cellar and the method he chose for murdering his friend allows us to know that he is actually a very clever man. Montresor cleverness is able to trap Fortunato, leading Fortunato to his death. He knows that his best friend Fortunato is a a man who has “prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine,” (Poe, 402). He uses this to his advantage, he is able to lure Fortunato to his cellar however, before he lures him down to the cellar he wants to know if Fortunato is expected to be anywhere. He tells Fortunato, “My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi-,” (Poe, 403). Montresor has done this twice by now, he does not want anyone to come looking for him or for Fortunato to be expected anywhere. So when Fortunato has replied, “I have no engagements;- come,” (Poe, 403) Montresor is able to then take Fortunato to his cellar knowing that no one is expecting him, leaving behind a cold trail. Fortunato is completely unaware of what is coming to him. He has no suspicions or doubts even about the events coming due to Montresor being able to act so well. He is able to act so well, he acts as if he would not mind returning by repeatingly offering to turn back, this only makes Fortunato want to keep going.

Montresor is awfully clever, he is constantly playing with Fortunato’s pride as he is leading him to his death. There was multiple times where Montresor offered to turn back because Fortunato has a cough and because of the dampness that they are in the midst of because of the catacombs but Fortunato responds “the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough” (Poe, 404). Fortunato refuses to admit that there is any physical weakness that could prevent him from tasting the Amontillado. Knowing that Fortunato will not turn back because he is being prideful, Montresor then leads him to the crypt, this is where he plans to bury him alive, saying, “…herein is the Amontillado” (Poe, 406). Montresors clever plan has now built up to this moment, he has gotten Fortunato right he has wanted him, he commits murder without thinking about it twice. Fortunato’s pride blinded him and ends up getting him murdered due to the effects of his insults towards Montresors.

“The Cask Of Amontillado” is a very strong tale of revenge, the antagonistic narrator of the tale, Montressor, pledges an act of revenge against Fortunato for offending him. Montresor uses the support of his family motto “Nemo me impune lacessit,” meaning “No one attacks me with impunity” to seek vengeance. Montresor finds it important to let Fortunato know what is happening to him, “a huge human foot d’or, in a field of azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are embedded in the heel” (Poe, 405). Montresor will gain pleasure from the actuality that Fortunato’s ignorance, of the all the events that surround him, especially his savoring curiosity for the wine Amontillado. This will be the ridiculous cause of his death as a consequence, creating the effect needed for Montresor. Montresor will gain pleasure from the fact that Fortunato will slowly die, as he will sober with terror the final blow will come from the realization that his big craving for the wine has led him to his death.

The dark setting is used to amplify the atmosphere of horror in this story, its purpose is to suggest that there is either freedom or confinement, the freedom or confinement of characters, in this case Fortunato. When look at “The Cask Of Amontillado” we are able to see how the story moves from freedom to confinement as the story goes on. It begins with a carnival, the carnival is a literal celebration of freedom, which both characters Montresor and Fortunato are participating in. When they begin to journey on through the catacombs, both characters are moving into smaller places, the places are also getting fouler. This hints at the fact that since they are moving away from fresh air, that they are actually moving away from freedom.

Towards the end of the story, Fortunato is trapped what could be considered far away from freedom, he is chained and bricked up inside a crypt with no air and no freedom. Meanwhile Fortunato is trapped, we know that Montresor is physically free, but is he mentally free? Out of all the things that Montresor can do, he chooses to tell the story, he chooses to bring up what he has done. This means that he is trapped, he cannot forget what he has done. He doesn’t feel guilty that he has done it but he is not free from what he has done.

Montresor uses revenge against one of his best friends but beneath the horror, it can be simplified to him actually being a prideful and clever character, causing him to commit a successful murder and feel no guilt. Poe uses a variety of elements to reveal Montresor’s character, revenge, and the transitioning setting to amplify the horror in this story. Underneath all the horror, we can see that Montresor, a prideful and clever character who uses Fortunato and his pride against him to successfully plot his revenge using a dark setting.

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“The Cask Of Amontillado” Analysis. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-cask-of-amontillado-analysis/