preview

A Comparison of Poe's Short Stories, The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart

Good Essays
I have read both short stories by Edgar Allen Poe, ‘the Cask of Amontillado, as well as ‘the Tell Tale Heart. Between these two stories lie many similarities and few differences. For instance, both of these stories the narrator describes a murder. In the Cask, the narrator Montressor, whose sanity is questionable, describes the way he murdered his rival Fortunato. The man Fortunato, who isn’t all that fortunate in death, has insulted Montressor many times and Montressor seeks revenge for so long, but hasn’t acted until now. Fortunato was a connoisseur of wine, and was a very wealthy man. Montressor is equally as wealthy as he, however, he has something to prove by killing Fortunato, but doesn’t want to be caught doing so. "I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong". As a result, he doesn’t allow Fortunato, or anyone to know how angry he is, or that he seeks to teach him a lesson. Montressor’s goal is to make Fortunato feel as weak, upon his own death, as Montressor did enduring the insults and embarrassment he suffered. Montressor waits for the perfect moment so he can kill Fortunato without getting caught. Finally, he seizes the moment to act upon the revenge he’s been waiting for one night when he finds Fortunato in a drunken state after a carnival. He lures Fortunato into his home by challenging his connoisseurship of wine. He allows Fortunato to believe that he is inviting him because he would like to test his knowledge in wine against another connoisseur. Fortunato is sick with a constant cough, and to top it off very drunk, which in this state he... ... middle of paper ... ...nd tries not to make a sound. Even when there is a sound, he waits, and doesn’t allow his presence to be seen, if not unheard. On the eighth night, after waiting so long, and taking so much precaution, he finally suffocates the old man with his mattress. The difference here is that, in "The Tell Tale", the murder was very meticulous and calculated. The narrator knew just when and how he was going to kill the old man. In opposition to "The Cask", there was the absence of a murder plot. I found the situational irony of these two short stories to be quite interesting. In "The Cask", the victim’s name is Fortunato, which stems from the word fortune. Fortunato may have been fortunate as far as his wealth is concerned, however, not so much in his death. I would assume that someone named Fortunato would fortunate in everything, life, health, wealth and even die peacefully.
Get Access