Use of Setting to Create Mood in Poe's The Cask of Amontillado

Topics: The Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells Pages: 3 (1019 words) Published: January 20, 2014
Reed Zatlow
Paper #1 Draft
JAN 8 2014

Use of Setting to Create Mood in Poe's “The Cask of Amontillado”

Known historically for his dark and ominous storytelling, Edgar Allen Poe offers concise, detailed description of his characters, as well as their surrounding, to perfectly set the mood in his famous work “The Cask of Amontillado.” During the introductory paragraph, the main character of the story, Montresor, describes revenge in the utmost detail against Fortunado, a fellow wine merchant. From one moment to the next, Poe uses dialogue to contrast Montresor's apparent friendship, with his innermost feelings and motivations. From beginning to end Poe transforms the main character from someone who seems the victim of serious harassment, into a cold, calculated sociopath. Poe uses details of setting to create mood. These details include not only time and place, as well as the outfits of the two characters, but also a precise descripion of their journey from the festivities of the lighthearted city, into the deep, dark catacombs beneath the earth.

Poe first uses Setting in the form of time and place. It is nighttime during the festivities of what the town refers to as “Carnival”. During this time The town is in chaos. The men and women are drinking and partying and dressing up in costumes to celebrate and enjoy themselves. This perfect timing shows that this plan has been premeditated for some time by Montresor. This setting affords Montresor the ability to operate mostly unnoticed by the townspeople. In the story Montresor states he must “not only punish, but punish with impunity” (Poe 357). Obviously getting caught himself would not be considered a success. In the darkness of night nobody will see what goes on in the shadows.

Poe also uses the costumes of his characters to display Mood. Not only is Montresor ominously dressed in all black form head toe, he is also wearing loose fitting clothing that allows him to carry weapons and his...
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