For the Love of God, Poe! Essay

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It is not at all surprising that so many of Edgar Allan Poe’s works explore such themes as death, eyes, the power of the dead over the power of the living, retribution, the human conscience, and especially death and murder. From his disturbingly morbid short story “The Telltale Heart” to the mysteriously supernatural poem “The Raven”, Poe’s tales are a direct byproduct of the mayhem experienced in his life, as well as his (arguably) psychologically-tormented mind. Though all of this author’s pieces are very rich in elaborate themes, motifs, and especially fantastically blatant irony, one particularly stands out to me -- “The Cask of Amontillado”. This story recounts how a man called Montresor seeks revenge upon a “friend” who allegedly…show more content…
The jingling bells, a lovely comic touch from Poe, only add to this wonderfully gruesome humor. The setting of the tale is also dreadfully ironic. It takes place during the carnival season, a time of merrymaking and madness, where the traditional interpretations of social liberation and joy are emphasized (Wood). What’s more, at a masquerade, reality is temporarily adjourned and people can take on an entirely different identity for a while. It is for that reason that the protagonist, Montresor, uses the masquerade to his own advantage -- the pretense of costume enables him to enter the festivity completely unnoticed. The ironic part, though, is that Montresor uses the masquerade to cause harm to Fortunado. Poe actually also wrote a few other stories (like “William Wilson” and “The Masque of Red Death”) in which the characters abandon social events and are left susceptible to crime (Merriman). It’s a common theme amongst his works, but it’s incredibly clever. Who would think that any harm would come from a masquerade? Another significant piece of situational irony occurs when Fortunado asks Montresor whether or not he is a Mason (Cummings). According to the narrator, Fortunado makes a grotesque “gesticulation”. Montresor does not understand, so his friend clarifies: “Then you are not of the brotherhood.” Our protagonist realizes what Fortunado is referring to, and assures him that he is indeed of the brotherhood. When Fortunado asks
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