Analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe
“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” (Poe 124) The first line in the story represents the theme of the story; revenge. When the story is first read, one might view Montresor as a cold-blooded murderer. However, he presents us with only a brief understanding of his motives. His pretense and careful manipulation towards Fortunato reveals the care in which he plans his death. The skill and precision of Montresor’s planning gives him the ability to escape without being accused of the crime. Montresor’s shrewd demeanor allows him the ability to maintain an appearance of good will towards supposed friend. On an evening of the carnival season, in the story’s setting, Montresor invites Fortunato to taste a sample of sherry wine, which he wishes to confirm as Amontillado. As obvious at it appears Montresor uses the setting of the carnival, which is generally portrayed as a place of joyful, social interaction, to bring out the irony of the attitude Montresor presents. Yet, Montresor’s intentions are not what they appear to be. Montresor is a master at manipulation and this is evident in the quote, ‘“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”’(125) As the journey progresses, Montresor taunts Fortunato by continuously mentioning that he might be too weak or sick to accompany him to visit Luchesi, who really isn’t a character, but more of a plot device to drive the action. During the entire trek through the catacombs Montresor is very careful not to arouse Fortunato’s suspicions. This is a sign that Montresor has calculated how Fortunato would meet his demise. Montresor knows that Fortunato cannot resist taking a taste of the Amontillado. As the two men proceed further along the passages to the catacombs,...
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