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Cask of Amontillado

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  • April 2008
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Foreshadowing the Fate in “The Cask of Amontillado”
In “Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe presents a murderous tale of revenge revealed as the confession of a man who murdered another man over fifty years ago because of an “insult.” During a carnival festival, the murderer led his companion to the catacombs where he buried the man alive. The charter of Montresor lures his victim, Fortunato with the promise of a fine sherry, amontillado. As Poe’s character of Montresor guides the wine connoisseur, Fortunato, Poe symbolically foreshadows the impending murder.

Before even reading the story Poe foreshadows Fortunato’s fate with the title of the story. In the title of Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” the “cask” is short for casket. Casket is the final resting place for many after they die, therefore representing death. The Amontillado is the means in which death is achieved even though not directly but by the luring toward it. The title in its translation means the death of someone because of their attraction toward Amontillado. Elena Baraban, author of “The Motive for Murder in “the Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe”, believes that “the whole imagery of the crypt suggests that the word “Amontillado” is a metaphor” (55) symbolizing the way that Fortunato was killed. With that the title of the story could be foreshadowing the end of Fortunato for the word cask means casket and if amontillado is a metaphor for Fortunato then the title would read “The Casket of Fortunato”.

Poe places much emphasis on Carnival in his story symbolically foreshadowing the fate of Fortunato at every turn. Montresor waited for the Carnival season because it would be the perfect time to strike “during the supreme madness of the carnival season,” (Poe 674). Carnival is known as the time when reality is inverted. The peasants dress up as the hierarchy and can be elected to carnival king or pope. Religion is the main focus point of the land and to obey the laws it sets...