The Cask of Amontillado

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"The Cask of Amontillado" and "Porphyria's Lover" are literary works with similar themes. Both main characters experience tension that causes them to stray from the actual realm of reality. Reality is ignored, leading to the theme of murder that the story-poem pair shares. The writing styles of Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Browning are enriched by their choice of character, points of view, symbols, and settings. The setting in "The Cask of Amontillado" takes place in the catacombs. Catacombs were underground cellars, where the dead were stored. Poe uses the catacombs as a symbolic backdrop to his macabre tale. The catacombs highlight Montresor's transition from just thinking evil thoughts, to performing subhuman acts. Montresor is a man who has taken up the task of revenge. In "Porphyria's Lover," the pair of lovers find themselves taking shelter from a storm. The characteristics of Porphyria are actually highlighted by the storm. As she sheds her clothes, she exposes her innocence and vulnerability. The storm is a setting that seems to encase the characters. The heinous murders that take place are only enhanced by the settings of the literary works. The chosen settings rivet the attention of the audience. Fortunato's name, is also symbolic for who he is as a character. After all, Fortunato means fortunate or happy one. The story casts the imagery of a man who is laid back, and has been fortunate in his dealings with the world. On the opposing end of the spectrum is the vile Montresor. Richards 2

Montresor is a man who lives by the motto of his family crest. He considers himself godlike. Thus Montresor exalts his feelings and actions above all others, he considers any decisions he may make justifiable. Believing that he is a law unto himself, he is justified in taking the law into his own hands. In "Porphyria's Lover," her murderer feels justified in killing her to preserve their love. Montresor has been driven by perverse anger triggered by an imagined insult....
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