Comparing the Narration of The Cask of Amontillado and The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe
CASK OF AMONTILLADO Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado is a story of fear and revenge. The dark side of human nature is exemplified through the character of Montressor and his victim, Fortunato. The story begins with Montressor’s vow of revenge. This is proven in the first sentence when Montressor says, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”
As one of the greatest German philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche, said, “It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.” In the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, Montresor mentions in the beginning of the story, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato” and that he is suffering because of these injuries. Montresor does not clarify what these injuries are. These injuries might be related to the fact that Fortunato thinks that nobody is a wine connoisseur who knows everything except himself and this might be insulting Montresor indirectly. Because of this, Montresor thinks about taking revenge to make Fortunato pay for these injuries, but not any kind of revenge; he wants to take revenge with impunity. In fact, Montresor does not want to get caught so he would not have to face other injuries and get punished because of Fortunato. Montresor exploits Fortunato’s vanity as a wine connoisseur as a foible to lure Fortunato to his death, so Montresor would make Fortunato pay for his injuries and get his pride back which is unjustified act in a certain sense.
The setting of a story lays the foundation for how a story is constructed. It gives a sense of direction to where the climax is headed. The setting also gives the visual feedback that the readers need to picture themselves into the story and comprehend it better. Determining the setting can be a major element towards drawing in the reader and how they relate to a story. A minor change in the plot can drastically alter to perception, interpretation, and direction of the message that is delivered. These descriptive elements can be found within these short stories: “the Cask of Amontillado”, “The Storm”, “The Things They Carried”, “Everyday Use”, and “The Story of an Hour”.
Edgar Allen Poe uses irony and poetic justice all throughout “The Cask of the Amontillado”. The places where irony and poetic justice hold the most significance are the scenes where, Montresor speaks of the wronging done to him by Fortunato, where Montresor and fortunato speak of the coat of arms, and where at the very end when Montresor traps Fortunato in the catacombs and leaves him to die. These scenes clearly show the use of these two tools that Poe used to tell the story of Montresor and
Poe's, The Cask of Amontillado is a story about fear and revenge. The story begins with Montressor's vow of revenge, foreshadowing future actions. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult vowed revenge..." Montressor had to be sure not to raise suspicion of what he was going to do Fortunato. Montressor knew that Fortunato had a weakness that he could use towards his advantage.
According to R.J Russ “poe tells a tale of revenge and humiliation ,the way this particular story symbolizes poe’s work that has a mind boggling ending. although there is no motive,poe uses symbolism to try to answer questions in the short story ;amontillado clown costume , the way fortunato dies .” “My dear fortunato , you are luckily met. ” in the “cask of amontillado” there are plenty of things that mean something else for example fortunato , he is anything but fortunate.
In his short story, Poe describes the act of revenge almost as a dark insanity that plagues the main character. Montresor’s madness is shown when he goes from friend to foe. He gives the impression that he is worried about Fortunato’s health at first, but towards the end takes satisfaction in hearing the cries of his helpless victim. Montresor even told the listeners of his story “I ceased my labors and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption.” (Poe 1318)
“The Cask of Amontillado” is a dark piece, much like other works of Edgar Allan Poe, and features the classic unreliable narrator, identified by himself only as Montresor. This sinister central character is a cold ruthless killer that is particularly fearsome because he views murder as a necessity and kills without remorse. Montresor is a character who personifies wickedness. Poe uses this character and his morally wrong thoughts and actions to help the reader identify with aspects of the extreme personage, allowing them to examine the less savory aspects of their own. The character of Montresor detailing the glorious murder he committed is a means of communicating to the reader that vengeance and pride are moral motivators that lead to treacherous deeds and dark thoughts.
In the Cask of Amontillado, our narrator’s situation is one he is quite happy being in. Our narrator is Montresor, an Italian man rich with pride, and you quickly learn through his narration that he is intelligent, conniving, and extremely sinister. Throughout the story, everything Montresor does is motivated by one thing, his own thirst for vengeance. Montresor explains his actions are a result of Fortunato constantly abusing him and finally going too far, but he never explains anything Fortunato has done to insult him. When we meet Fortunato, he is extremely friendly towards Montresor, albeit a little intoxicated, so much that he makes Montresor’s story of “a thousand injuries” seem unbelievable (Cask 1). Compared to Gilman’s narrator whose spiral out of control was triggered by her forced seclusion from the outside world, it seems that Montresor’s insanity come from inside his own head. There is no evidence that suggest any attempts by Fortunato to belittle or insult Montresor in any way. I believe that Montresor may have been jealous of Fortunato’s success in life, and that is what drove him to vengeance. For example, on their way to the catacombs Fortunato makes a hand gesture of the Masons, a secret brotherhood, which Montresor doesn’t understand. Fortunato ask if Montresor is a Mason and for him to prove it, and Montresor lies and shows his trowel (Cask 5). This proves that