In the history of literature, there have always been different themes and genres of writing. But few have been as different or unique as that of the "gothic" literature. Of all the gothic authors of history, few writing has captured the mind and plunged it into the depths of fear as that of Edgar Allen Poe. Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," is a story that shows us how deadly being prideful can be. Themes of dishonour, revenge and questionable justice all come together in this story. In this essay, I will discuss how the setting, irony and the lack of certain details all contribute to the gothic theme and the spine-tingling effect of the story.
The setting and clothing of the story are two of the key factors in creating an atmosphere for the story to take place in. We are first introduced to the bright and cheerful environment of a carnival. Montresor's clothing is the first to set the eerie feel to the story as he puts on "a mask of black silk and a heavy, knee-length cloak." (71) Montresor's clothing seems to reflect his mood as well as adding to the setting of the story. After this, we are introduced to Montresor's catacombs; a place of death, decay and a dark setting where Montresor can commit his crime with no one suspecting. As the pair, Montresor and Fortunato head down the catacombs, some readers cannot help but think of them as heading down into the depths of hell, as in that time, hell was thought of to be below the earth, while heaven was above. The walls of the catacombs are covered with spider webs and as they "pass through the long walls of piled skeletons." (72) They also notice a large amount of "nitre hanging like moss upon the vaults." (72) The catacombs are so dark that both Montresor and Fortunato need torches to proceed through, and this increases the sinister environment of the catacombs. Even after providing such creepy details, Poe does not stop here. He goes on to say "the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to...
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