The men walk into a crypt, where human bones decorate three of the four walls. The bones from the fourth wall have been thrown down on the ground. On the exposed wall is a small recess, where Montresor tells Fortunato that the Amontillado is being stored. Fortunato, now heavily intoxicated, goes to the back of the recess. Montresor then suddenly chains the slow-footed Fortunato to a stone.
Taunting Fortunato with an offer to leave, Montresor begins to wall up the entrance to this small crypt, thereby trapping Fortunato inside. Fortunato screams confusedly as Montresor builds the first layer of the wall. The alcohol soon wears off and Fortunato moans, terrified and helpless. As the layers continue to rise, though, Fortunato falls silent. Just as Montresor is about to finish, Fortunato laughs as if Montresor is playing a joke on him, but Montresor is not joking. After no response, Montresor claims that his heart feels sick because of the dampness of the catacombs.
He finally repositions the bones on the fourth wall. For fifty years, he writes, no one has disturbed them. Montresor confesses this story fifty years after its occurrence; such a significant passage of time between the events and the narration of the events makes the narrative all the more unreliable. His face covered in a black silk mask, Montresor represents not blind justice but rather its Gothic opposite: Montresor chooses the setting of the carnival for its abandonment of social order.
While the carnival usually indicates joyful social interaction, Montresor distorts its merry abandon, turning the carnival on its head. Because the carnival, in the land of the living, does not occur as Montresor wants it to, he takes the carnival below ground, to the realm of the dead and the satanic. Character List Roderick Usher C. Without a detective in the story, it is up to the reader to solve the mystery.
Montresor never specifies his motive beyond the vague "thousand injuries" and "when he ventured upon insult" to which he refers. Some context is provided, including Montresor's observation that his family once was great but no longer so , and Fortunato's belittling remarks about Montresor's exclusion from Freemasonry.
Many commentators conclude that, lacking significant reason, Montresor must be insane , though even this is questionable because of the intricate details of the plot. There is also evidence that Montresor is almost as clueless about his motive for revenge as his victim. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong". After Fortunato is chained to the wall and nearly entombed alive, Montresor merely mocks and mimics him, rather than disclosing to Fortunato the reasons behind his exacting revenge.
Montresor may not have been entirely certain of the exact nature of the insults for which he expected Fortunato to atone. Additional scrutiny into the vague injuries and insults may have to do with a simple matter of Montresor's pride and not any specific words from Fortunato.
His house had once been noble and respected, but has fallen slightly in status. Fortunato, as his name would seem to indicate, has been blessed with good fortune and wealth and is, therefore, viewed as unrefined by Montresor; however, this lack of refinement has not stopped Fortunato from surpassing Montresor in society, which could very well be the "insult" motive for Montresor's revenge.
There is indication that Montresor blames his unhappiness and loss of respect and dignity within society on Fortunato. Montresor even imparts this blame to Fortunato when he states, "You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was". This interchanging of fortunes is a suggestion that, since the names Montresor and Fortunato mirror one another, there is a psychological reciprocal identification between victim and executioner.
It is with this converging of the two characters that one is able to see the larger symbolism of the Montresor crest — the foot steps on the serpent while the serpent forever has his fangs embedded in the heel.
Upon further investigation into the true nature of character, double meaning can be derived from the Montresor crest. A more allegoric meaning of Poe's places the actors in reverse. Though Fortunato is presented as a connoisseur of fine wine, L. Moffitt Cecil of Texas Christian University argues that his actions in the story make that assumption questionable. For example, Fortunato comments on another nobleman being unable to distinguish amontillado from sherry when amontillado is in fact a type of sherry, and treats De Grave, an expensive French wine, with very little regard by drinking it in a single gulp.
Cecil also states that a true wine connoisseur would never sample wine while intoxicated and describes Fortunato as merely an alcoholic. Cecil also suggests that some people might feel Fortunato deserved to be buried alive for wasting a bottle of fine wine. Immurement , a form of imprisonment, usually for life, in which a person is placed within an enclosed space with no exit, is featured in other works by Poe, including "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Premature Burial", "The Black Cat", and "Berenice".
An apocryphal legend holds that the inspiration for "The Cask of Amontillado" came from a story Poe had heard at Castle Island South Boston , Massachusetts , when he was a private stationed at Fort Independence in Massie had been killed in a sword duel on Christmas Day by Lieutenant Gustavus Drane, following a dispute during a card game. Poe wrote his tale, however, as a response to his personal rival Thomas Dunn English. Poe and English had several confrontations, usually revolving around literary caricatures of one another.
Poe thought that one of English's writings went a bit too far, and successfully sued the other man's editors at The New York Mirror for libel in Its plot was convoluted and difficult to follow, but made references to secret societies and ultimately had a main theme of revenge.
This parody of Poe was depicted as a drunkard, liar, and an abusive lover. Poe responded with "The Cask of Amontillado", using very specific references to English's novel. In Poe's story, for example, Fortunato makes reference to the secret society of Masons , similar to the secret society in , and even makes a gesture similar to one portrayed in it was a signal of distress. English had also used an image of a token with a hawk grasping a snake in its claws, similar to Montresor's coat of arms bearing a foot stomping on a snake — though in this image, the snake is biting the heel.
In fact, much of the scene of "The Cask of Amontillado" comes from a scene in that takes place in a subterranean vault. In the end, then, it is Poe who "punishes with impunity" by not taking credit for his own literary revenge and by crafting a concise tale as opposed to a novel with a singular effect, as he had suggested in his essay " The Philosophy of Composition ".
Poe may have also been inspired, at least in part, by the Washingtonian movement , a fellowship that promoted temperance. The group was made up of reformed drinkers who tried to scare people into abstaining from alcohol.
Poe may have made a promise to join the movement in after a bout of drinking with the hopes of gaining a political appointment. Poe scholar Richard P. Further inspiration for the method of Fortunato's murder comes from the fear of live burial. During the time period of this short story some coffins were given methods of alerting the outside in the event of live entombment. Items such as bells tied to the limbs of a corpse to signal the outside were not uncommon. This theme is evident in Fortunato's costume of a jester with bells upon his hat, and his situation of live entombment within the catacombs.
Poe may have known bricklaying through personal experience. Many periods in Poe's life lack significant biographical details, including what he did after leaving the Southern Literary Messenger in Ingram wrote to Sarah Helen Whitman that someone named "Allen" said that Poe worked "in the brickyard 'late in the fall of '". This source has been identified as Robert T.
Allen, a fellow West Point student during Poe's time there. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. New Essays on Poe's Major Tales.
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Edgar Allan Poe has a unique and dark way of writing. His mysterious style of writing appeals to emotion and drama. Poe's most impressionable works of fiction are gothic. His stories tend to have the same recurring theme of either death, lost love or both. For example, in the short story " The Cask of Amontillado" opens with. In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Cask of Amontillado," Poe uses the literary technique of an unreliable narrator like he did in his story entitled "The Tell-Tale Heart." The term "unreliable.
Edgar Allan Poe Writing Styles in The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Cask of Amontillado. Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado.