November 16, 2009
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” Montressor kills Fortunato as revenge for an insult; we do not know if the insult was real or not, it is no specified. It could be also envy or jealousy of Fortunato. Montressor reassures the success of his plan by different means – he plays on Fortunato’s weak point; he does itduring the carnival; on the way to the catacombs and in the catacombs he constantly insists that Fortunato leaves the catacomb with him but at the same time he gives him more wine. It denotes well-planned actions and great knowledge of the victim.
This story is about revenge and secret murder. It is also the story of punishment without proof. Montresor, the main character and the narrator,starts the story by telling to somebody, whose opinion is important for him, that he has been irreparably insulted by Fortunato, the other character of the story. Now, because he felt that insult was too much, he is seeking for revenge: "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge" (p.432). From the beginning Montressor mentionsthat Fortunato apparently commits some insult to Montresor - he crossed over the line but we never know what Fortunato has actually done to him. This fact alone raises the question if Fortunato has really insulted Montresor, or whether Montresor is creating it in his own mind. Whatever the reality is, Montressor plans very carefully his revenge. On the other side, Montressor explains that hewants to execute his revenge in a measured way, that is without placing himself in a risk.
So he decides to play on Fortunato’s weak point: “He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine” (p. 432). He knows about Fortunato's pride and during the carnival asks him to verify if the wine he had bought was actually the expensive Amontillado or ordinary sherry. When Montressor meets Fortunato inthe carnival, it looks like Fortunato actually considered him a friend, and it is hard to imagine him insulting Montressor. Fortunato was immediately glad to see his friend and went with him without any doubt. When Montressor meets Fortunato, Poe describes their clothes. Fortunato wears the multicolored costume and a cone cap with bells. He is enjoying the carnival, and he is drunk. Montressor, onthe other side, wears a black mask and roquelaire. Again, this denotes the plan of Montressor. It is easier to convince and manage Fortunato when everybody, including the victim, is drunk, when is dark and he uses a black mask. To convince Fortunato to go with him to the catacombs he mentions that he actually wants to ask Luchesi opinion. He plays on Fortunato’s pride and achieves the goal.Fortunato wants to prove that he is better than Luchesi. Fortunato insists on going to Montresor’s vaults. In this moment Montressor comments us that he has already planned that when he will turn back there won’t be anybody because he sended his servants away to the carnival.
During their way to the vaults, Montressor constantly insists that Fortunato leave the catacomb with him, "Come, we willgo back ere it is too late. Your cough..." (434) He says that because he knows that Fortunato's pride in his wine tasting ability is too great for him to turn back. At the same time he is saying that he gives more wine to Fortunato, so it will be easier for Montressor to
As all long the story, Poe uses irony with the characters’ names. Montressor’s name means “my treasure” and Fortunato’s,name in Italian means “fortunate”. The irony lies in the fact that Fortunato is anything but fortunate since he will be killed. It happens to him because for Montressor the treasure is his family name and motto, which he feels, was insulted. As his family motto says: “Nemo me impune lacessit”, meaning no one provokes me with impunity. (DiBeradino, 2009)
The irony is also present when...
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