Montresor's Unsuccessful Revenge: Subtle Irony in "Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe

1954 Words Oct 31st, 2010 8 Pages
Throughout his literary career, Edgar Allan Poe applied irony to his stories. By doing this, his disturbing and odd tales became stories of mental and psychological twists and terror that trouble readers. Poe uses irony in “The Tell-Tale Heart” to increase mental tension by making the murderer in the story confess the crime that he so carefully planned. The man goes mad by fault of his own conscious and if he had not confessed, the murder would have been a success. Just as in “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe utilizes irony to amplify the horror and tension in “The Cask of Amontillado”. In “The
Cask of Amontillado”, a murderer, Montresor, plans a clever revenge scheme using many small parts to bring the plan together. Montresor’s
plan
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Montresor carefully planned his revenge to be a victorious and fulfilling one.
Slow suffocation was to be Fortunato’s death which would give Fortunato time to think about why he is chained and closed into a wall to die.
Since Fortunato dies before his realization, as suspected, it is impossible for Fortunato to recognize the insult he caused Montresor and as Montresor says in the beginning of the tale, one of the rules of a successful revenge is making the avenged realize their mistake.
Montresor’s revenge demands for a conscious victim. Montresor’s impatience increases and he throws a torch at Fortunato’s head in hope for a reply. When nothing comes back in response but the jingling of bells, Montresor has understood, under Jacoby’s explanation, that
Fortunato has fallen to his demise: “Surely a conscious Fortunato, no matter how stoic, would have cried out in response to the flame…
[Montresor’s] subsequent haste implies recognition that the
‘satisfaction’ to be derived from his victim has ended” (Jacoby 30).
Fortunato does not give Montresor the satisfaction that Montresor begs for, whether it was deliberately or unknowingly. As Jacoby suggests,
Montresor’s rush to hear something from