Irony: Short Story and Edgar Allan Poe

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March 31, 2009
One Big Mistake
Authors use ironic situations in stories to keep the readers wondering what will happen next. Irony occurs when the reader predicts that the plot or character in the story has an intention or attitude opposite to that which was actually stated. Irony is also a form of sarcasm. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe uses every possible type of irony to create a chilling tale of a man being chained and left to die in a catacomb. In “The Necklace,” Guy de Maupassant also uses different types of irony to create an unfortunate tale about Madame Mathilde Loisel who has to give up her comfortable life in order to work for a necklace that turned out to be a fake. Throughout each story, examples of verbal, situational, and dramatic irony can be found. Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote “The Cask of Amontillado” and Guy de Maupassant, who wrote “The Necklace” both use their main character to develop types of irony that twist the story in a way that surprises and keeps the attention of the reader.

Edgar Allan Poe uses irony to build suspense and foretell the ending throughout the story “The Cask of Amontillado.” Fortunato, one of the main characters in the story, dresses up as a court jester for the supreme carnival that takes place in the beginning of the story. It is ironic that Fortunato dresses like a fool because he really was a fool not to see the signs of Montresor’s mastermind plot to get revenge and kill him. This is just one example of irony that Poe demonstrates throughout the story. Another example is when Fortunato asks Montresor whether he is a mason, meaning a member of a secret fraternity. Montresor agrees that he is a mason. However, he is referring to the word mason, meaning a craftsman who builds with stone. Poe not Whiting 2

only uses irony through symbolism but he also consistently uses it in the dialogue. For example, when Montresor runs into Fortunato in the beginning of the story, he says, “My dear Fortunato, you...
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