9/17/01Critical Reading and Writing”The Cask of Amontillado”, written by Edgar Allen Poe, is a classictale of revenge. This flawlessly diabolical plan of revenge begins to takeshape during a period of great celebration.
The Cask of Amontillado beginsduring the carnival season of an unknown Italian city. Written in 1846, thestory takes place on the streets of a carnival and moves into the dark anddreary crypt in the palazzo of the main character, Montressor’s . Thislocation adds to the menacing atmosphere of the story. The scenes anddifferent settings are limited; Poe chooses the perfect scene for the typeof image he is trying to portray. This enhances the mood of the story.
After Montressor asserts: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I hadborne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. . . I must not only punish, but punish with impunity”, he takes it upon himselfto devise a plan of vengeance. In the time following the insult, Montressoris very wary not arouse the suspicions of Fortunato. He has decided uponrevenge and spends his days figuring out how and when his revenge will bemost effective.
Ultimately, Monteressor decides to use Fortunato’sstrengths against him. Since Fortunato is a connoisseur of fine wines, heplans to lure him with wine. One evening during the carnival season, Montressor encounters thedrunken Fortunato dressed as a jester. He lures him back home with himbecause he exclaims that he is in need of advice. He offers to get theadvice from another man, but Fortunato will not let his reputation as thebest wine taster become blemished. Montressor explains that he has justpurchased a cask of what seems to be “Amontillado” but he is not quite surewhether he was fooled.
Fortunato offers to return home with him to settlethe matter. After Fortunato has taken the bait, the two proceed towards thepalazzo of Montressor. Upon arrival, Montressor is excessively polite andoffers to turn back due to the obvious cough and cold of Fortunato. Whetherit is due to determination or sheer intoxication, Fortunato refuses to turnback.
As they begin to venture into the vaults, Montressor sees his plantaking shape. They finally reach the most remote end of the crypt into asmall less spacious room. In a deceitful manner, Montressor gets Fortunatoto enter the room, which is no more than four feet deep, three feet wide,and six or seven feet tall. The moment he enters the room, Montressorchains him. Implementing the final stage of his plan, Montressor wallsFortunato in the room using a pile of bricks that he has assembled.
Toointoxicated to even attempt resistance, Fortunato spend the whole timescreaming. In a last attempt at freedom, he even tries to play off thewhole incident as a joke and asks Montressor to release him. Growing sickat heart due to the darkness of the crypt, Montressor hurries and finisheshis plan. His revenge was complete. He lives up to the words on hisfamily’s coat of arms: “Nemo me impune lacessit”, which means “No oneassails me with impunity.
” DiscussionIt is a rarity to find a story so rich in its symbolism and dramaticirony. Edgar Allen Poe undoubtedly captures the essence of fear andsuspense while perfectly utilizing the aforementioned literary devices. Itis through the use of these two devices that he delivers the quality thathe is so well known for. From the beginning of the story the irony is apparent.
The firstironic aspect of the story is the name Fortunato. This name suggests goodfortune, when in reality; the character of Fortunato experiences quite theopposite. He suffers a terrible death after being lured into a chamber by afriend. A second and perhaps less important example of irony in the storyis the setting.
The characters meet during a carnival. While carnival isthought to be a time of fun and celebration, it turns out to be a time ofdeath and revenge. The way the narrator treats Fortunato is also veryironic. While the narrator makes it clear to the reader that Fortunato issuffering from a severe cold, he proceeds to complement Fortunato duringthe carnival on his “remarkable appearance. ” Fortunato is tricked and ledinto a pride struggle when the seemingly friendly Montressor displaysapparent concern. A perfect example of the obviously ironic and twistednature of Montressor is when he offers to