Contrasts of Fortunato and Montresor

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Contrasts of Fortunato and Montresor
Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories always attract our attention by the images of murders, terrors, madmen, and mysteries. “The Cast of Amontillado” is Poe’s famous short story, which presents us a cold-blooded murder and two persons with personality flaws. This essay will make a contrast between the two characters by analyzing their characteristics and their psychological changes as the plot develops in order to understand the theme of this story. First, Fortunato and Montresor are different on their dress, educational backgrounds and personalities. Their dress reveals their distinct features. Fortunato dresses himself as a clown: “The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells.” His dress shows vitality. However, Montresor “[puts] on a mask of black silk and [draws] a roquelaire closely about [his] person.” The black mask seems to indicate the death, which is a striking contrast to Fortunato’s. And Montresor’s preparation of cloth protects him from the severe coldness and dampness of the wine cellar, while Fortunato wears few clothes and has a cough. This reveals Montresor’s premeditated murder and Fortunato’s unsuspecting mind. In the story, there is little information about two characters’ family and educational background. But we can infer from their behaviors and words. Fortunato may be a businessman and succeed in this field. He may be rich but not well-educated and has a desire to flaunt his knowledge in wine, painting and gemmary. And his enthusiasm of wine is to make fortune from others. However, Montresor is a well-educated person from noble family. He is also skillful in wine, but also in painting and gemmary, for he calls Fortunato “quack” in painting and gemmary. And the Latin words which slip out of his tongue indicate his literacy. They are varied in personalities. Fortunato is a stupid and conceited man who is filled...
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