Poe's Narrators in "Cask of Amontillado" and "Fall of the House of Usher"

1971 Words Oct 29th, 2008 8 Pages
One of the most famous authors in American history is Edgar Allen Poe, thanks to his intricate and unsettling short stories and poems. One of the strongest aspects of Poe’s writing style is the allure and complexity of the narrator of the story. These narrators, ranging from innocent bystanders to psychotic murderers, add depth to such a short story and really allow Poe to explore the themes of death and murder which he seems to have an unhealthy obsession towards. Furthermore, he uses these narrators to give a different perspective in each of his many works and to really unsettle the reader by what is occurring throughout the story. The narrators, whether an innocent witness of death as in “The Fall of the House of Usher” or a twisted …show more content…
While the previous passage from “The Cask of Amontillado” shows the narrator’s malice and hatred while planning the murder, this passage demonstrates the true genius of Poe’s writing by examining the actual act of murder and viciousness through the eyes of the narrator:
‘Fortunato!’ No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick - on account of the dampness of the catacombs [...] I forced the last stone into position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace re quiescat! (Poe 235)
This passage is loaded with meaning and symbolism and really dives into the psyche of Montresor. For example, the line “There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells” is symbolic of the last moments of Fortunato’s life and the point of no return for both characters. This “jingling” is the final act of Fortunato and is the last moment between the two characters.
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