The Development of Death

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Death is generally written about at the end of literature, but developed through out. Authors use foreshadowing to give the reader a clue as well as build suspense to shape the scene. Both Edgar Allen Poe and Cormac McCarthy use these techniques to develop the theme of death. Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, and McCarthy’s novel, No Country For Old Men, both revolve around death and mortality, but each are approached in their own way. Poe uses irony with his main character, Montresor, to enhance the death of Fortunato, while McCarthy’s antagonist, Chigurh, effectively uses his sociopathic ways to create suspenseful tactics leading up to death. Even though both authors portray death differently in their work, they each use dark imagery to develop and enrich the idea of death.
Poe’s short story, which contains no deep background or characters, takes the reader through a dark, mysterious murder. It is told from the first person point of view with Montresor being the narrator. He is considered an unreliable one because the audience does not know if he is insane. He does not justify why he wants revenge. “The Cask of Amontillado” is considered a gothic horror, which creates mysteries and secrets that lead to suspense. Poe’s secret that is constructed deals with the death of Fortunato and how Montresor succeeds with this murder with out getting caught. This gothic vibe shapes the setting and molds a dark and eerie death scene. In the beginning, “The Cask of Amontillado” takes place in Italy at a carnival where Montresor finds Fortunato and wants to seek revenge for something he has done. Montresor later takes Fortunato down to the catacombs, which they are dark and gothic. They contain wine, but also dead bodi...

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...higurh to prevent him from causing more deaths. Bell reports that “this country has not had a unsolved homicide in forty-one tears. Now we got nine of em in one week” (McCarthy, 216). Because there is such trouble at the moment, it foreshadows more problems in the future, all relating to death. Bell’s job is to detect all of the murders in his area, which blatantly develops the theme of death.
Death is discussed a great amount in these two texts. It is inevitable for both Fortunato and Moss, there is no escaping it even if they tried. Edgar Allen Poe and Cormac McCarthy approach death right from the beginning of their work all the way to the end. “The Cask of Amontillado” has a strong sense of irony while No Country For Old Men creates suspense. Although these authors do not use the same techniques, the development of death appears through out their work.
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