Lack of a Superego Impacts Montressor's Behavior in Poe's The Cask of Amontillado

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Lack of a Superego Impacts Montressor's Behavior in Poe's The Cask of Amontillado

Most readers would agree that Montressor, the protagonist in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", is mad to at least some degree. Is Montressor merely a twisted individual bent upon revenge or a man who lacks a superego? Assuming the latter is true, Fortunato was perhaps doomed for no reason discernable to someone possessing an ordered subconscious in which the superego assists the ego in policing the id. The injuries and insults visited by him upon Montressor might have been based on something so trivial as to confound the average man, or perhaps they existed only in the mind of the madman.

Poe is renowned for his authorship of tales dealing with morbid psychology. Critiquing his work, Edmund Clarence Stedman says of Poe: "His strength is unquestionable in those clever pieces of ratiocination...and especially in those with elements of terror and morbid psychology added". Stedman goes on to say, "His artistic contempt for metaphysics is seen even in those tales which appear most transcendental. Th...

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