The Cask of Amontillado
Irony and symbolism are tools used in writing to convey individual messages throughout the story. It is Edgar Allan Poe's intense use of symbolism and irony throughout the Cask of Amontillado that gives this short story its suspense and horror filled theme.
The Cask of Amontillado is a horror short story, which revolves around the themes of revenge and pride. The plot involves two men: Montresor, the narrator, who is an Italian aristocrat seeking revenge against the second main character: Fortunato, a proud man that flaunts about his knowledge of wines and who finally walks into his own death. Irony is defined as words or actions that convey a reality different from appearance or expectation. The use of such device in the story gives it humor and wit. The continuous use of irony is detected through style, tone and the use of exaggeration from Montresor, the narrator. From the start we can blatantly see the irony in the story. The name Fortunato implies that this man is of good luck, when in actuality he was about to face the end of his life. The setting itself in which the story takes place also contains an ironic element. It is during Venice's Carnival that the characters meet. Carnival is supposed to be a time of celebration and happiness for everybody. However, in the tale it is a time for revenge and death. The mood changes drastically when the two characters leave the carnival for the desolate catacombs beneath Montresor's palazzo. We learn from the narrator that when he first meets Fortunato the latter has apparently been drinking and is dressed in many colors, resembling a jester. His costume suggests that he will be the one playing the fool. On the other hand Montresor is dressed in a black-colored cloak and has his face covered with a black mask. At this point in the story you can detect the black mask and outfit could be seen as a representation of death or evil. This gives some foreshadowing into the events taking place...
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