Montresor's Revenge

Satisfactory Essays
The Cask of Amontillado is centered entirely upon revenge and vengeance. This conflict between the narrator and Fortunato explores his past decision to kill a man based on perceived injustices. Poe uses this conflict to explore the difference between Fortunato and Montresor’s character flaws which led to the major conflict, while simultaneously studying how obsession can control the mind. By studying these downfalls , the story darkly shifts from the carnival celebration to death in the catacombs. The story descends to madness much like how the mind does when it deals with strong fixations.
Even at the story’s opening sentence, there is a sense that the narrator is still grappling with his all-encompassing obsession with the murder. It is only at the end that we learn that the entombment happened fifty years previously, and had been undisturbed. This story’s retelling could be in a journal entry for self-release, a story told to an unnamed listener for gloating purposes, or some other combination for forgiveness. The circumstances surrounding its retelling are up to the reader’s interpretation, especially in relation to the narrator’s aim. He explains why he must be avenged for the unnamed “thousand injuries” that Fortunato insulted him with in terms that reflect a whole minded fixation.
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. (Poe 1612)
This ending to the introductory paragraph introduces the narrator’s repeated philosophical justification for his actions. Fortunato wronged him, did not apologize, and therefore must be punished to amend the situati...

... middle of paper ...

...also muddles the conflict’s resolution. A gloating tone is noticeable with the story’s ending, “In pace requiescat!”, or “May he rest in peace!”. Instead of a sincere condolence to Fortunato’s death, this line hints at Montresor’s pride in killing him. Although he succeeded in killing Fortunato to amend the injustices, the narrator remains fixated on the event. This suggests an attachment, or obsession, that leaves the conflict unresolved.
By exploring how various obsessions can overtake the psyche, The Cask of Amontillado takes an unclear position on its murderous plot. The reader can sympathize with the murderer, both Montresor and Fortunato have the same vice, and the entombment does not finalize the conflict. The deeper levels within the conflict further create its impossibility to eradicate in the plot, and the narrator’s obsessions prevail over a resolution.
Get Access