Essay An Analysis of The Cask of Amontillado

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An Analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado

In “The Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allan Poe takes us on a journey into the mind of a mad man. The story relates a horrible revenge made even more horrible by the fact that the vengeance is being taken when no real offense had been given. In a short space and with ultimate technical skill, Poe creates a nightmare, guaranteed to give the reader a sleepless night.

The plot of the story is a simple one. Montresor tales revenge on his friend Fortunato by luring him into the tunnels under the family estate. There he leads Fortunato into the depths of the catacombs where he buries him alive by walling him into a niche. The story is told in first person from the point of view of Montresor
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Perhaps Poe is saying that there have always been great crimes that go unsolved. How many undiscovered remains are there in the walls of medieval buildings?

In this story the character of Montresor is revealed through his own words. When he reveals he is going to punish Fortunato for merely insulting him, that he has planned the whole act of vengeance, and that he has been playing as being Fortunato’s friend, we know we are dealing with a deranged personality. His character is also revealed with references to his family. It is almost as if Poe has Montresor’s ancestors tell the reader how nicely he fits into the family tree. His legacy from his family motto “No one attacks me with impunity” and a coat of arms that depicts a serpent whose last wish before death is to poison the foot that crushed it. Does the fruit of ever fall far from the tree? Montresor is as evil as his forebears were. He shows no remorse about what he has done, even in old age. When he says, “May he rest in peace” at the end of the story, the reader gets the feeling he means, “ I hope you stay there and rot” rather than, “I hope you found joy and peace in heaven.”

We don’t really know much about Fortunato: just enough to know that he must not have really known the true heart of his friend. He must not have
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