Analysis of Poe’s ‘The Cask of Amontillado’

“The Cask of Amontillado”

In Edgar Allan Poe’s sentiment, the narrative becomes the perfect vehicle for such literary topics as panic, passion, and horror. An illustration of Poe’s unbelievable manner can be seen in “The Cask of Amontillado.” In this concise narrative, Poe expeditiously employs the subject of retaliation. Additionally, Poe adds elements of sarcasm and suspense to finish his narrative. Poe did non blow one item nor did he lose an chance to prosecute us as readers. This paper will research the elements that make “The Cask of Amontillado” a pure delectation to read.

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It is interesting to observe that Poe is known as the discoverer of “a genre in which there is strong involvement in funny happenings” ( Barnet 83 ) . Poe referred to his narratives as “arabesques” ( 83 ) , which are “aimed at uncovering and eliciting unusual mental states” ( 83 ) . Additionally, Poe is celebrated for prose that trades with the “strange instead than the usual” ( 83 ) . “The Cask of Amontillado” is an first-class illustration of a narrative of funny occurrences based on the subject of retaliation. We become cognizant of Montresor’s purposes from the really beginning of the narrative. In fact, Poe wastes no clip allowing us know that Montresor is enduring from the “thousand hurts of Fortunato I had borne every bit best as I could ; but when he venture upon abuse, I vowed revenge” ( Poe 91 ) . Montresor even delectations in his ain immorality as he brags when he says, “It must be understood, that by neither word or title had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good-will” ( 91 ) . Fortunato is ciphering and from all histories, thirstily telling his terrorizing narrative.

For case, we are cognizant of his computations when he appears dressed as an executioner for the carnival. We are besides cognizant of how Montresor has planned the full event out because he relies on Fortunato’s pride to acquire him [ Fortunato ] rummy. Additionally, Montresor makes programs for his house to be empty when Fortunato arrives. We are told, “there are no attenders at place. . . I had told them that I should non return until the forenoon, and had given them expressed orders non to stir from the house” ( 92 ) . Montresor besides carries the trowel with him as the two work forces make their manner to the catacombs. Throughout all of this, Montresor shows no marks of altering his head.

Richard Benton, says that the narrative is a “mixture of such expressions as ‘Revenge is sweet’ and ‘What base on ballss will be sweet ( Pushkin ) ’” ( Benton ) . Indeed, we have a adult male who has plotted his retaliation and has every purpose of transporting it out. Benton points out that “Montresor’s narrating voice shows an interior satisfaction and a pride in live overing in the present the public presentation of a consummate fast one in the yesteryear. He is so pleased with himself that he proudly exhibits every item — every act, word, and gesture — of his intervention of Fortunato” ( Benton ) . For illustration, it is astonishing to believe that Montresor can retrieve with such graphic item the event, which occurred some fifty old ages ago. But he is able to tell even the eyes of Fortunato, which were like “filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication” ( Poe 92 ) . Additionally, he remembers the jingling of the bells that were attached to Fortunato’s costume. ( 93 ) Benton besides makes an of import fact that Montresor’s narrative of retaliation is in no manner to be considered a confession. ( Benton ) Indeed, “The Cask of Amontillado” is a narrative built upon retaliation and portion of the tale’s strength comes from the fact that Montresor does non of all time show a bead of sorrow for his actions.

It is an interesting fact that Edgar Allan Poe is given recognition for explicating a set of guidelines that can be used for composing short narratives. Harmonizing to Poe, the successful narrative “affords unimpeachably the fairest field for the exercising of the loftiest endowment, which can be afforded by the broad spheres of mere prose” ( Poe 4 ) . Poe was a perfectionist when it came to composing and “The Cask of Amontillado” offers ample grounds. Poe is exerting his exalted endowment as he employs sarcasm in this narrative, which adds to its spirit. We witness dramatic sarcasm, when we become cognizant of what is traveling to go on to Fortunato. Another component of sarcasm can be seen merely in Fortunato’s name, for his circumstance is anything but fortunate. Additionally, Fortunato “wore motley” for the carnival. ( 91 ) We are told that he had on a “tight-fitting parti-striped frock, and his caput was surmounted by the conelike cap and bells” ( 91 ) . This is clearly a work of mastermind in Poe, for we envision non merely a adult male dressed as a sap, but a actual sap every bit good. Additionally, Montresor makes a complete sap of Fortunato by the evening’s terminal.

Poe’s preciseness when it comes to linguistic communication can besides be seen in this narrative. Poe wrote that a successful author conceives “a certain unique or individual consequence to be wrought out, he so invents incidents — he so combines such events as may be assistance him is set uping this preconceived effect” ( 5 ) . Additionally, Poe goes on to province at that place should non be one word in the full work that does lend to the original thought. Poe believed that the narrative presented something unique that the novel did non because it could be read wholly in one sitting. “Undue brevity is merely as objectionable here as in the verse form, ” he wrote, “but undue length is to be avoided” ( 5 ) . Examples of this can be seen throughout the linguistic communication of “The Cask of Amontillado.” For illustration, Poe employs verbal sarcasm with much of Montresor’s concise address. Form the beginning of his fallacious ascent into the catacombs, Montresor is “concerned” with Fortunato’s cough. “We will travel back ; you will be sick, and I can non be responsible” ( 92 ) , Fortunato says ; nevertheless, he follows that statement with the manipulative statement about Luchesi. Additionally, Montresor tells Fortunato that his wellness “is cherished. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved ; you are happy, as one time I was” ( 92 ) . This is a powerful scene because it describes the differences between Montresor and Fortunato and possibly the ground for Montresor’s feelings. An extra spot of sarcasm is employed when Fortunato tells Montresor that he will non decease of a cough and Montresor answers, “True — true” ( 93 ) . This statement allows us to see into the distorted head of Montresor.

Additionally, it is dry that Montresor is able to acquire Fortunato down into the catacombs on Fortunato’s sheer green-eyed monster of Luchesi combined with his ain puffed-up sentiment of himself. Every clip Montresor suggests go forthing the moistness of the catacombs, he is certain to follow it up with the mentioning of Luchesi, which elicits an angered response from Fortunato. Montresor had studied Fortunato’s character plenty to cognize merely how to pin down him. These facts reveal non merely Fortunato’s ability to be manipulated, but it besides reveals Montresor’s pure immorality.

Poe is able to show his ability of narrative relation by constructing our wonder as the narrative goes on. Clearly, we are cognizant of what the storyteller has in head and we become engaged in the narrative to detect if Montresor can really carry through his ain title. Fortunato eventually becomes cognizant of what is go oning to him and by whom, but he likely ne’er discovers the ground why. These undistinguished inside informations do non count to Montresor every bit long as he gets what he wants in the terminal. The suspense turns to floor when we realize that Montresor can non merely transport out his program, but that he carries it out without squinching.

Another component of the suspense in the narrative is the slow realisation of Fortunato as he becomes sober. Montresor admits the call he heard while puting the bricks in the gap was “not the call of a rummy man” ( 94 ) . This scene heightens the suspense because we realize that Fortunato must be recognizing that he has been trapped. To do affairs worse for Fortunato, Montresor tosses his torch into the crypt so that Fortunato can see what is go oning to him. As readers, we are shocked at such a audacious act but, at the same clip, can non rupture ourselves off from the text.

Fortunato’s anguish heightens the tenseness of the narrative. Poe is non merely stating us Montresor is making ; he is demoing us in a manner that is terrorizing. This scene is ghastly non merely because Fortunato is buried alive, but besides because of Montresor’s ghastly character. While reading, we can non assist but inquire how an person can stay so unagitated. In fact, we know that even in the 50 old ages that have since passed, Montresor’s feelings have non changed one spot. His lone response after so many old ages have gone by is, “In gait requiescat! ” ( 95 ) .

In decision, Poe masterfully employs the component of retaliation as the foundation of “The Cask of Amontillado.” By adding sarcasm and suspense, he engages us until the really terminal. It is no admiration that Poe is credited with the “successful interlingual rendition of Gothic into American literature, if non on American soil” ( Baldick xix ) . “The Cask of Amontillado” is a antic illustration of Poe’s concise, tightly-woven prose every bit good as his originative storytelling ability.

Plants Cited

Barnet, Sylvan, erectile dysfunction.An Introduction to Literature. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1985.

Baldick, Chris.Gothic Narratives. New York: Oxford University Press. 1992.

Benton, Richard. “The Cask of Amontillado.” Watson, Noelle, erectile dysfunction. 1994. Site Accessed November 26, 2003 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ;

Poe, Edgar Allan.Complete Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Gopher state: Amaranth Imperativeness: 1984.

— – . “Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales.”38 Short Narratives: An Introductory Anthology. Timko, Michael and Oliver, Clinton, ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1968.

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