Irony in The Cask of Amontillado, a Story by Edgar Allan Poe

Decent Essays

In his short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe tells a tale of murder through the protagonist of the story, Montresor. He is recalling the event years after it happened. Fortunato, the man who gave Montresor a “thousand injuries . . . [and] ventured upon insult” is walled up in Montresor’s wine cellar. The details of the injuries and insult are never disclosed to the reader, all that is known is that the narrator—Montresor—is angered to the point of homicide. Irony is the key factor in creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. Poe uses the setting along with the victim’s name to ultimately enhance the irony in this tale of revenge. The backdrop is one of fun and frivolity, yet the story is bound for a dark and deadly turn. While many people are having a wonderful time at the carnival, Montresor has been plotting murder. Fortunato’s name itself is an ironic aspect of this short story. The name of the victim is more than just a name. The creator of Behind the Name, Mike Campbell writes that Fortunato is a name in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish; Campbell notes that Fortunato stems from “the Late Latin name Fortunatus meaning ‘fortunate, blessed, happy’” (Campbell); this choice of name is ironic because Fortunato the character turns out to be extremely unfortunate. Both of these ironic aspects help to create suspense in the story. Montresor’s words throughout this story are steeped in irony. When they first meet Montresor says, “My dear Fortunato, you are

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