Cask of Amontillado

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Stephen Ryan The Cask of Amontillado In "The Cask of Amontillado" Edgar Allan Poe takes us on a trip into the mind of a mad man. The story relates a horrible revenge made even more horrible by the fact that the vengeance is being taken when no real offense had been given. This concept sets the mood for true evil. The plot of the story is simple. Montresor takes revenge on his friend Fortunato by luring him into the wine cellar under the family estate. There he leads Fortunato into the depths of the catacombs where he buries him alive by walling him into a recess in the wall. This story is told in first person, from the point of view of Montresor. The exposition of the story occurs when Montresor tells us that he wants to take revenge on Fortunato because "he ventured upon insult." What this insult was we do not know. We do know that he intends to go unpunished for this act of reprisal. Montresor then informs us that he is going to continue to smile in Fortunato's face, while using Fortunato's pride in his knowledge wine to lure him into the catacombs to taste some of his imaginary amontillado. At this point, the reader knows the conflict will be one of man versus man. It is an external struggle because Fortunato and Montresor are in a life and death fight. However, the conflict is largely internal, because Montresor has a fierce hatred that Fortunato is unaware of. The climax of the story is when Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall and begins to layer the bricks. It is the high point of emotional involvement. It is at this point that the reader may ask themselves if this is really about to happen. The conclusion lets us know that Montresor was never punished for this crime. Fifty years has passed and he is an old man telling the story on his deathbed. The true horror is that Fortunato died a terrible death, utterly alone, and his killer was never brought to justice. The theme in the story is perhaps the least important feature. After all,...
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