How Poe Observes the Characteristics of the American Gothic Literature Tradition in “The Cask of Amontillado”

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Andrew Hoskinson / Chris Pearcey / Lane Todoroff
Ms. Seiler
ENC1102, Period 4
26 September 2013
How Poe Observes the Characteristics of the American Gothic Literature Tradition in “The Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allan Poe was destined to a life of darkness and insanity. As the son of traveling performers, Poe was abandoned to the horrors of the world at a young age. Poe is generally regarded as the father of American Gothic Literature, an example to such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. The stories that Poe inscribed are prevalent in modern times, creating genres such as horror films and science fiction movies. "The Cask of Amontillado" is one of Poe's most memorable short stories, that epitomizes the American Gothic Literature Tradition through the dark narrative. In this short story Montresor, the protagonist, has a vendetta against Fortunato, a man that has wronged him thousands of times. To carry out his revenge, Montresor proceeds to lure Fortunato into the catacombs of his cellar, promising him amontillado, a rare wine. In the end, Fortunato is bound to a wall, while simultaneously being entombed by Montresor. The symbolism, settings, and narrator employed by Poe in "The Cask of Amontillado" are the stereotypical elements to Southern American Gothic Literature To begin, Edgar Allan Poe utilizes his patriarchal mastery of symbolism to adhere to the characteristics of The American Gothic Literature Tradition in “The Cask of Amontillado.” Poe uses the symbol of Fortunato’s attire to describe his personality as foolhardy and gullible. He adorns “a tight fitting party-striped dress and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells” (Poe 1). He was dressed as a jester; this symbolic representation portrays Fortunato as a fool. Trent Lorcher touts “This is Montresor's way of humiliating Fortunato further for the anger he has caused Montresor. Montresor wants Fortunato to die like the fool that he is “(Lorcher 1). Additionally,...
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