Symbolism and Irony Used in Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado

Decent Essays

Edgar Allan Poe uses symbolism and irony in unison throughout “The Cask of Amontillado” to demonstrate Montresor’s villainous intentions. As the narrator, Montresor explains that although a friend named Fortunato has insulted him and deserves to be avenged. However, he has hidden his goal from Fortunato, giving no “cause to doubt [his] good will.” Montresor, aware of Fortunato’s influence, knows he must “not only punish, but punish with impunity.” Instead, he lures Fortunato to his grave with the promise of fine wine. The victim’s name, Fortunato, meaning “fortunate,” is ironic as he proves to be an unsuspecting and quite unfortunate character. Fortunato’s apparel, a motley outfit and bells on his head, ironically portrays the fool Montresor ultimately makes of him in his wicked plan. Upon meeting at the carnival, symbolic of a joyous and lively event, Montresor finds himself gleaming with delight at Fortunato’s intoxication, saying “my dear Fortunato, you are luckily met.” To this Fortunato assumed friendship and acceptance. Rather, Montresor is merely excited only because he can now accomplish his murderous revenge on his unsuspecting victim. Additionally, the word “lucky” refers to the meaning of Fortunato’s name, but also ironically to the man’s eventual horrific fate. When the two pushed further into the vaults, Fortunato had reoccurring cough attacks, one of which Montresor warns “go back; your health is precious. You are respected, admired, beloved; you are

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