Never Have Too Much Pride The insult had been done, and Montresor was out for revenge on Fortunato. Not a soul but Montresor knew what the insult may have been, but this is what makes the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe. The story is about a man, Montresor, who receives a wine that Fortunato, the wine expert, is looking for. During a carnival, Montresor persuades Fortunato to take him to his personal wine cellars, located in the catacombs. Fortunato became impaired, Montresor takes this opportunity to chain him to the catacomb wall. He then proceeds to build a brick wall, isolating Fortunato, which eventually leads to his despairing death. The theme to this short story is having too much pride will lead you to despair; there are infinite forms of irony in “The Cask of Amontillado”, but the main three are Fortunato himself, the title the short story, and the dialogue within the story. Firstly, the name Fortunato means the fortunate one. In all actuality, Fortunato is not very fortunate, for the fact that he dies in the catacombs. This man claims himself as a wine expert, but what he does not realize is his own obsession leads to his death. If he had not been sick or intoxicated, Fortunato might still be alive. As stated in “The Cask of Amontillado,” “From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it” (Poe 168). Fortunato was too impaired to realize that Montresor was chaining him to a brick wall. Another ironic twist with Fortunato is his costume. Poe states, “He had on a tight-fitting party stripped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells” (Poe 165). Fortunato was dressed as a court jester; it contrasts to his death that awaits him at the end of the short story because you wouldn’t think a court jester – or judge – would be dying. Poe also adds a comical tone to the bells on Fortunato’s hat – when he walks the
Cited: Lewis, Paul. “Poe’s Humor: A Psychological Analysis.” Studies in Short Fiction 26.4 (1989): 531-536. NCLive. Web. 31 October 2013.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Kelly J Mays. 11th Ed. New York: Norton, 2013. 164-170. Print.