The Cycle of Justice and Revenge: The Cask of Amontillado

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One’s pride can either lead to justice or to revenge depending on the morals of the actions taken. In Edgar Allan Poe’s terrifying fictional short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor murders the narcissistic Fortunato to at first repair and then avenge his family’s honor and is solidified by renowned scholar Elena V. Baraban’s “The Motive for Murder in ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ by Edgar Allan Poe.” Throughout the story Poe navigates the paths of justice and revenge through restoring honor to the noble Montresor family name.
Every wrong must be corrected, because justice is a show of morality. In “The Cask of Amontillado,” Poe illustrates justice through Montresor restoring his family’s honor by putting Fortunato in his place after he insults Montresor’s pride when he pompously said that he forgot Montresor’s coat of arms (Poe 5) right after Montresor stated that “the Montresors were a great…family” (Poe 5). Montresor’s past tense use of “were” in reference to the Montresor family greatness implies a falling out that was most likely caused by Fortunato because of his slur against the Montresor family symbol during a time when family status meant everything. This would force Montresor to avenge his family name, thus bringing back its honor. However, later when Montresor takes it too far, using murder as the consequence for his hurt pride and fall in status, his hubris drives him to concoct a plan to murder Fortunato believing that he, Montresor, had planned the perfect revenge. Consequentially, because Montresor did not morally correct Fortunato (relying on revenge instead of justice), Baraban believes that “Montresor’s narration [is] taking place at his death bed, [and that his] belated confession gives sufficient ground to...

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... “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor feels compelled to avenge himself and his family’s honor after Fortunato insults him, hurting his pride. As such, Montresor, in his need to avenge his family, crosses over justice’s fine line into the vast territory of revenge. This is furthered by Elena V. Baraban’s “The Motive for Murder in ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ by Edgar Allan Poe” as she comments on Montresor’s need to right the wrongs done to his family. Through their works, Baraban and Poe reveal justice and revenge to be a never-ending cycle, especially when the integrity of one’s family hangs in the balance.

Works Cited
Baraban, Elena V. “The Motive for Murder in ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ by Edgar Allan Poe.” Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature. 58.2 (2004): 47-62. JSTOR. Web. 25 October 2011.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado.” 23 April 2014.
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