The Cask of Amontillado

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What do you think of when you hear the name “Edgar Allan Poe?” The words dark, creepy, and even scary may come to mind. The Cask of Amontillado shows how far a vengeful narrator is willing to go to restore his honor and dignity, all the while creating a creepy atmosphere with a mix of both symbolism and irony. It’s no wonder Poe was considered a great master of horror.
In The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor, our narrator, is driven into getting revenge on Fortunato, the man who ventured insult unto him. It doesn’t say exactly what he did, but Montresor was set on punishing Fortunato with “impunity” and allowed us to believe that the crime was horrible enough to be punishable by death. Since the story is being told from Montresor’s self-serving viewpoint, his thoughts and actions are easily classified as something only someone not of a sane mind would have and/or do, therefore making him an unreliable narrator. In his mind, he is doing the right thing by committing murder because he thinks he is correct and even tries to justify his wrongdoings to us by mentioning his family’s coat of arms and its motto, “No one insults me with impunity.”
The creepy atmosphere in The Cask is created by mostly taking place in the dark, gloomy catacombs, in contrast to the lively, high-spirited carnival setting at the beginning of the story. Poe does an excellent job creating tension by letting the reader know that Montresor, regardless of having only dark intentions, inflates Fortunato’s ego with compliments, hence, having a greater chance of leaving him ignorant of being led to his inevitable doom. Despite guiding Fortunato into a trap, and eventually his death, Montresor stays calm, collected, and even seems to be caring and sympathetic towards F...

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...tories are inspired by true events, including this one? Maybe not everything you read is just “make-believe.”

Works Cited

Eroden, Veli Okan. "'The Cask of Amontillado' & 'The Tell-Tale Heart' by Edgar Allan POE." 24 January 2013. Web. 20 November 2013.
Leonard, Alicia Gale. "The Personae of Unreliable Narrators." 2005. Web. 20 November 2013.
Lorcher, Trent. "Symbolism and Irony in 'The Cask of Amontillado.'" SForsyth, 10 September 2013, web. 17 November 2013.
Nillson, Christoffer. "Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado.'" 1997. Web. 20 November 2013.
Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Cask of Amontillado." 1846. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes poe's use of symbolism and irony in his stories.
  • Concludes that poe is a master at writing creepy horror and suspenseful mysteries. the seemingly insane narrator, dark setting and atmosphere along with irony and symbolism are his classic "trademarks."
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