Themes of Freedom and Confinement in “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe
Humans have always struggled against freedom. However, they choose not to identify that history has proved again that too much freedom encourage anarchy. Freedom is the right to act, speak or think without hindrance. This theme of freedom is displayed in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. For one person to be free, another must die. Fortunato and Montresor are symbols of how human nature display differently in different people in varying combinations of psychological and physical freedom.
“It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend” . The carnival season represents freedom. It happens just before Lent. Everybody parties during carnival to prepare for the solemnity and sacrifice of Lent. Yet, for Fortunato, the carnival season soon becomes the contrary of what it’s supposed to be. Someone would expect such a horrible tale of revenge with the appropriate setting of the cliche, not at a cheerful festival of people. “I have no engagement;–come. […] “Come, I said, with decision, we will go back; your health is precious.” Fortunato is letting Montresor realize that he is “free” to go with him to check out the Amontillado. Ironically, this freedom is partly of what traps him in the end. Fortunato might still be free to turn back, but he is catch.
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Montresor decides to murder Fortunato because he has insulted him. Not a acceptable reason, but apparently it is all that Montresor needs. He had made cautious preparations for the assassination. The catacombs were the perfect place for a murder. All of the servants had been dismissed to go to the carnival, so there was no one at the property. “A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite”. Fortunato has absolutely lost his freedom at this point. But he’s still uninformed of the fact. He cannot believe Montresor would do this to him. He’s still holding out desire for the Amontillado. “For the love of God, Montresor! Yes, I said, for the love of God!” Apparently this is when Fortunato finally recognize that he is no longer a free man. Fortunato speaks no more when he finds out that Montresor is not afraid of God, or worse, that Montresor thinks he is carrying out God’s plan.
In conclusion, freedom becomes less and less of a possibility as the Fortunato and Montresor move into smaller and smaller crypts, each one more disgusting than the last. This is a reminder for us that when we think about our actions, as Montresor did not, we would perceive that violence is never a good way to resolve our issues. Though we often let our anger get the better of us, we must consider that when we feel as though all we can do is to proceed in violence, we must pause and reflect on the horribleness of violence in the past and in the present, besides we should always remind ourselves that there are better ways to resolve our disagreement.