English 1102, 12:30, TR
September 3, 2009
Essay #2 –Fiction
Irony in “A Cask of Amontillado”
Verbal irony has a meaning (often contradictory) concealed behind the apparent meaning of a word or phrase in order to get a point across; whereas situation irony is often coincidental and contradictory to the situation at hand in an improbable way. Throughout the story “A Cask of Amontillado”, Edger Allen Poe uses verbal and situational irony to add a touch of macabre humor, build suspense, and foreshadow the ending.
The Title of the story begins the ironic theme for this short story. The word cask, meaning wine barrel, is derived from the same root word used to form casket, or coffin. Thus, the cask figuratively represents Fortunato’s final scene as he is trapped for eternity in the catacomb casket. Fortunato’s Costume is another factor in this tail that I found to be relatively ironic as well. Fortunato dresses as a court jester. His celebratory outfit contrasts with the grisly fate that awaits him. Periodically, the bell atop his cone-shaped hat jingles; which ads a nice touch from Poe’s creative mind. Fortunato’s name also fallows this theme of word play. The Italian name Fortunato is said to represent good fortune, luck, and a good well being. However, Fortunato has anything but fortunate in this tail; as he is destined to his demise from the very beginning. Poe also uses irony recurrently in the dialogue. For instance, when Montresor runs into Fortunato, he says, “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met.”, but in actuality Fortunato is a very unlucky man for running into Montresor because Montresor has very dark plans for Fortunato’s near future. Later in this story, Montresor pretends to be concerned about Fortunato’s terrible coughing and hacking as they descend into the vaults, Montresor says, “We will go back. Your health is precious. Your are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as I once was. You are a man to be...