The Cask of Amontillado is an 1846 short story by Edgar Allan Poe, which gives an account of Montresor, a man who executes a plan of vengeance against his friend, whom he claims insulted him. As the narrator in the story, Montresor provides a vivid image of his plan to lure Fortunato to his death, which ends in the eventual live burial of Fortunato. The theme of revenge is the most prominent element of this story, which enables the reader follow the narrator’s character, thus gaining a comprehensive understanding of the story. Similarly, the development of William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, is founded on the theme of revenge. From the onset of the play, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to him and asks that he carries out revenge on Claudius, who killed him and took the throne from him. However, unlike The Cask of Amontillado, the theme of revenge in Hamlet is mainly manifested through the protagonist’s inability to execute vengeance till the very end of the play. The theme of revenge is an integral aspect of the two literary works, to enhance the development of characters and their role in bringing the specific stories to life.
In The Cask of Amontillado, the theme of revenge is established at the start of the story, when the narrator states that he suffered irreversible insult by his associate, Fortunato, thus he vowed to avenge this action. This is evident in the following statement in the opening paragraph of the story, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe 7). Therefore, it is apparent to the reader from the onset of the story that revenge is a major driving force for Montresor for him to dreadfully murder his acquaintance,...
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...evertheless, the portrayal of revenge differs in the manner of execution, as seen in Montresor’s eagerness for revenge against Fortunato, while Hamlet is hesitant to avenge his father’s death even after he learns that Claudius committed the murder. In addition, the motivation for revenge is different in the short story and the play; Montresor is motivated by the injury he’s suffered due to his friend’s insults, which is a motivation not as substantial as Hamlet’s, in the death of his father. Despite these differences, both Montresor and Hamlet are controlled by vengeance, though Hamlet is more thoughtful and reasonable, thus his life ends in honor.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Cask of Amontillado. Mankato, MN : The Creative Company, 2008. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Raleigh, NC: Hayes Barton
Press, 2007. Print.
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