Cask of Amontillado

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Theme Analysis of "The Cask of Amontillado"

In "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe, the dark side of human nature is exemplified through the character of Montresor and his victim, Fortunato. Montresor is a manipulative and vengeful person. These characteristics lead to the death of Fortunato, a man who has wronged him. Through the acts, words, and the thoughts of Montressor, one is able to see him carry out his plan for revenge. The story takes place in Italy at a carnival where Montresor and Fortunato meet each other by chance, or so it is seems. The mood at the carnival is lively and exciting. It is then that the two men head towards the catacombs of Montresor's home in search of the wine Amontillado. The catacombs are a place of death where skeletons lie scattered against the damp walls, which are covered in nitre. Montresor dons a "mask of black silk" and a heavy knee length cloak (149). Montresor's clothes seem to indicate his wanting to conceal himself so he can carry out his devious plan. On the other side of the spectrum, Fortunato wears a "tight fitting parti-striped dress, and his head [is] surmounted by the conical cap and bells" (149). His clothing seems to indicate his trusting but foolish nature. The clothing of both men seems to set the mood for the type of characters they are. However, Montresor's true character is indicated through his words. From the beginning of the story his vengeful nature sets the tone for the acts that will follow. One of the first things that Montresor narrates to the reader about Fortunato is that he "…must not only punish but punish with impunity" (149). Montresor is also manipulative, as he tells Fortunato that he will have someone else taste the Amontillado, knowing that by doing this Fortunato will feel compelled to taste the wine himself. "As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If anyone has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me…" (150). In addition to being manipulative and vengeful he also...
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