Literary Analysis - Cask of Amontillado

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In "The Cask of Amontillado" Edgar Allan Poe takes us on a journey into the mind of what many would perceive as a mad man. The story tells of what seems to be a horrible revenge made even more horrible by the fact that the vengeance is being taken when no real offense had been known. This notion sets the mood for true evil. The plot of the story is simple. Montresor takes revenge on his friend Fortunato by luring him into the wine cellar under the family estate. There he leads Fortunato into the depths of the catacombs where he buries him alive by walling him into a tomb in the wall. Was Montresor mad or was it premeditated murder? "Nemo me impune lacessit" (No one attacks me with impunity). This seems to be the theme running through the short story. Along with the Montresor Coat of Arms; a serpent being crushed under a gold foot and the saying "Nemo me impune lacessit". Is this the motto of a vengeful family who believes revenge is justified or of a mad man who has heard that motto so many times, that he feels revenge is justified at any cost? Knowing Fortunato was intoxicated from the wine and spirits of celebrating Carnival as well as in a Jester costume he is wearing, Montresor takes advantage of Fortunato knowledge of fine wines and entices him with a "Cask of Amontillado" (Barrel of Spanish Sherry) Montresor has just acquired to lure Fortunato to the vaults under the family estate. This sounds like a precalculated plan for revenge. Montresor never states what the insult truly is, be does state "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge…" During the entire trek through the catacombs Montresor is very careful to not arouse Fortunato's suspicions. This is a sign that Montresor has calculated how Fortunato would meet his demise. Montresor knows that Fortunato can not resist taking a taste of the Amontillado. As the two men proceeded further along the passages to the catacombs, the...
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