Professor Fred Kille
February 3, 2013
The Cask of Amontillado Essay
“A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself as such to him who has done the wrong” Some people are driven to do wrong by enviousness and Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” is one good example of such. The story tells the event of the murder of Fortunato in the hands of Montresor, the narrator. Although many critics argue that Montresor acted out of self- righteousness, one cannot conclude such due to the lack of credibility that can be accounted to him and his malice. Montresor is an unreliable, malicious narrator who shows to have contrasting feelings of guilt and remorse towards his crime against killing Fortunato.
Montresor, through his own telling of the events, showed not only that he is not accountable for credibility but he also showed that his main motif to kill Fortunato was enviousness. Perhaps the most revealing reason to asses that Montresor is not a just person is that he lacked evidence to condemn Fortunato. For instance, Montresor opens the story by saying “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” These latter lines are all the reader knows of Fortuno’s presumed crime which suggests that there was no concrete wrongdoing from Fortuno after all; therefore revealing that Montresor acted without proof and out of malice. In further support of the claim that the narrator is bad-natured is that he also shows to be a cynic. Throughout the story he constantly refers to Fortunato as “my friend”. The fact that Montresor does not use negative words to refer to Fortunato tells the audience that he is attempting to protect his self-image and that he acted with hypocrisy. By the same token, the way Montresor talks about Fortuno conveys that he was somewhat envious. While they were...
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