Why Are the Students so Unwilling to Associate with Anyone Outside Their Ethnic/Racial Groups? Where Those This Intolerance Come from?

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado, Catacombs Pages: 8 (3017 words) Published: April 30, 2013
1.In "The Cask of Amontillado," what does the narrator's attitude toward his servants reveal about his view of humanity? It is clear that this is another key indication of the kind of character that Montresor is as a narrator. The fact that he has deliberately organised for his home to be empty when he brings Fortunato home speaks of the way in which he is a calculated killer and has deliberately planned to have Fortunato murdered. However, note what he says about his servants and how he achieves the emptying of his house. Montresor thus seeks to implicitly recognise the human failings of others. He knows that during the time of Carnival, if given the opportunity, his servants would go out and make merry, even if they were told not to. He cunningly uses this understanding of the foibles of human nature to his own advantage, showing his ability to manipulate others and clearly acknowledging his own lack of scruples in doing so. This helps us develop a picture of a character who manipulates others without any feeling of guilt whatsoever so as to accomplish his own purposes. 2. In Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Cask of Amontillado," why is Montresor's revenge justified? One of the intriguing aspects of "The Cask of Amontillado" is that we do not know, and cannot know, whether Montresor's relentless and horrific revenge is justified. For example, Montresor establishes the reason for his hatred at the start of the story when he says The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.  You, who know so well the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. This disclosure tells us something very important about Montresor, specifically, that he is untrustworthy.  Apparently, he has been the victim of a serious insult, but rather than address the problem openly--by challenging Fortunato to a duel, for example--he is disguising his feelings. More important, however, is that Montresor never tells us what the nature of a "thousand injuries" is and how the "insult" was so qualitatively different that he had to revenge himself upon Fortunato.  Because we are left to wonder throughout the entire story why Montresor is acting out the horrific revenge, we cannot but be suspicious of his motives and his sanity. 3.Can "The Cask of Amontillado" be read as a metaphor for moving from wakefulness to sleep and dreaming? To apply this metaphor to "The Cask of Amontillado," the story must be read as strictly an allegory. The first section of the story represents the mind's relaxation and euphoria as it begins to lose consciousness. As the characters retreat from the "carnival madness" -- wakefulness -- they move into a dark place and drink wine, which relaxes their bodies. The second section, as they pass among the bones of Montresor's ancestors, shows the relationship of a person's past to his dreams and ambitions. Many dreams focus on past events and connect them to present or even future events; the skeletons in the catacombs represent both Montresor's past and Fortunato's future. Finally, the act of walling a person in alive was a strong fear of Poe's, and so represents his personal nightmare; he has moved beyond representational dreams and into the disconnected madness of nightmares, which often are not scary in retrospect. It becomes all about context and the fear of immediate and sudden phobias, which are one powerful root of nightmares. 4.In "The Cask of Amontillado," is there evidence that Montresor kills Fortunato for reasons other than revenge? Montresor is clearly acting with malice aforethought; he has taken steps in advance to set up an elaborate plan for Fortunato's death. However, since he is telling the story, and since he is an unreliable narrator, the reader has only his word that he is committing a justifiable act. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make...
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