Irony in Cask of Amontillado

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado, Irony Pages: 3 (633 words) Published: April 19, 2014


In the story “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe, we learn of a man named Montresor who seeks vengeance on an acquaintance, named Fortunato. The reason for Montresor seeking revenge is brought on by Fortunato causing him “thousand injuries” and insulting him. As a result, Montresor plans to bury Fortunato alive. This plot leads the reader into an experience of horror, just as many other stories by Poe do. Edgar Allan Poe is famous for his gothic horror writing, tales of mystery, and the macabre. His stories use clear symbolism with muted irony. This dark story by Edgar Allan Poe is made more interesting by the irony he uses to increase tension, enhance horror, and communicate the theme.

It is ironic that we only have Montresor’s word for what happened, but yet he is an unreliable narrator. Montresor can be considered an unreliable narrator because he never gives any details of the “thousand injuries” he has suffered at the hand of Fortunato or how he was insulted. Montresor says, “You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat.” This is ironic because the reader does not know the nature of his soul and has no way of knowing because the reader has just been briefly introduced to the narrator. Irony is also shown when Montresor says, “It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will.” Montresor is so upset at Fortunato that he plans to kill him, but then says that he has never given Fortunato the least cause to doubt that he is his good friend. Not only is irony shown in Montresor being our narrator, but in other parts of the story as well.

Poe also uses irony frequently in the dialogue. For example, when Fortunato coughs in the catacomb from the damp air, Montresor seems to worry about his ill-health, and asks him to return to the surface. “We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is...
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