The Cask of Amontillado

Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Cask of Amontillado," draws the reader, who enjoys dark and morbid tales, into experiencing the diabolic schemes of a murderer's mind and soul. He shows us that insulting words can carve at a man's sanity. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge." These are the opening words of Montresor, a crafty and vile creature, who carries a grudge against Fortunato. On the evening during carnival season, the drunk Fortunato greets Montresor with too much of a good nature. Montresor is pleased to find his friend, or should I say adversary, in such good spirits. Fortunato is unaware to Montresor's true feelings as he is led through a series of, "insufferably damp," catacombs beneath Montresor's palazzo for a promise of a taste of precious Amontillado wine that Montresor says he has just purchased. The dampness and nitre that fill the air causes Fortunato to have a cough fit. Montresor offers a bottle of Medoc to relieve Fortunato's cough, but it is to keep him drunk. "At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious." It was here that Montresor tells Fortunato that the Amontillado is kept in the catacombs. At this point Fortunato was extremely intoxicated, and unable to resist Montresor's strength as Montresor easily chains him to two iron staples on the wall. Fortunato's only reply is, "the Amontillado." Montresor echoes back, "the Amontillado." Now in the final stage of his plan, Montresor uncovers the "stone and mortar" that he uses to close up the entrance of the place. "Fortunato's intoxication begins to wear off as Montresor finishes the seventh tier of the wall." Fortunato makes, "A succession of loud and shrill screams," causing Montresor to have second thoughts, "only to surrender instantly to the remorseless and satisfaction of the nefariousness of his crime." Fortunato begins to laugh within the, "depth of the recess," hoping this all to be a joke. At the end Montresor forces the last stone into the wall and conceals it with the pile of bones that lay on the damp ground. Fortunato is left to die, a very bad death.

The theme of this story is that, insulting the wrong person will have a cost. Poe makes this clear from the beginning as the sinister Montresor states his vow of revenge after being insulted my Fortunato. He goes on to say,"You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat." The grudge that he holds toward Fortunato has become so bad over time, that he plans the most terrible crime against mankind, by burying a living person. It is evident that Montresor takes pleasure in hurting Fortunato with the promise of a taste of the Amontillado, and also taunting him as Fortunato is chained to the wall. Montresor hears the echoes that of a , "loud and shrill creams," of Fortunato, and finally he pleads for his life. Fortunato says, "For the love of god, Montresor!" and Montresor replies repeating the very same words, "Yes, for the love of God!"

Poe has this piece use a narrative style mixed with the a specific part of irony. Irony plays an important and necessary role to make this story interesting. It covers the facts that Montresor is able to keep Fortunato completely oblivious to his true intentions of his revenge that he has waited many years to cpmplete. This will enable Montresor to easily lead Fortunato to his appalling death. Poe uses verbal irony rather well, in fact as Montresor expresses concern for Fortunato's health. "Montresor pleads several times to return back for fear that Fortunato's cough will worsen as a result of the cold and dampness of the catacombs, yet he has no intention of turning back at all. Responding to Montresor's concerns Fortunato states, "the cough is mere nothing; it will not kill me. Poe's use of irony continues on, morbid as it be, when Montresor toasts to Fortunato's long life, and finishes the tale with the words of, "In pace requiescat!"

The words in this piece is much more like the structure and the theme, which uses irony all the way through the tale for the sole purpose of Montresor's plan of revenge. In the start, Poe focuses on the words used to justify Montresor's reason for revenge. Montresor states, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge." Revenge for an insult, this only lets this shows the reader what a terrible or demented character Montresor must be. Poe uses this irony so that Montresor is able to successfully pull off such a farce that will lead Fortunato to the end of his life . Such tell tail words are also important to tell this tale. Words such as, "excessive warmth, insufferably damp, drops of moisture trickle among the bones, and succession of loud and shrill screams," all express what the characters went throiugh as the plan of revenge unvailed through out the entire story.

I feel that the tone of this piece is completely out there, dark and gloomy. Throughout the tale Poe shocks the reader with Montresor's horrific plan to take his friend down to his death because of something he said. Montresor declares in the beginning that he, "must not only punish, but punish with impunity." Montresor lacks emotion and pity for the fate of Fortunato. It's as if he enjoys each stage of this murder he has planned. Poe also sets a tone of sadness, in which Fortunato perseveres with his ill health through the,"insufferably damp," vaults that are, "incrusted with nitre," just for the promise of tasting his special wine "The Cask of Amontillado". The reader must also keep in mind that Poe gives a bold like part to Montresor, for he is very much like the serpent represented in his family's "coat of arms".

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