The Theme of Revenge in “The Cask of Amontillado” Essay

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Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a frightening and entertaining short story about the severe consequences that result from persistent mockery and an unforgiving heart. Poe’s excellent use of Gothicism within the story sets the perfect tone for a dark and sinister plot of murder to unfold. “The Cask of Amontillado” simply overflows with various themes and other literary elements that result from Poe’s Gothic style of writing. Of these various themes, one that tends to dominant the story as a whole is the theme of revenge, which Poe supports with his sophisticated use of direct and indirect factors, irony, and symbolism. The theme of revenge in “The Cask of Amontillado” is the driving force for the entire short story. The …show more content…
Each of these factors shares the possibility of contributing to Montresor’s vengeful act against Fortunato. Another indirect factor that could contribute to Montresor’s vengeful act, and thus the story’s theme of revenge, is his state of mind. Some critics have analyzed the opening line of this short story and have determined that it could contribute to an insane state of mind. When the opening line states, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge,” it does not describe what the insult is. The fact that Montresor does not give a specific description of the insult leads many critics to believe that Montresor has acted irrationally in murdering Fortunato and that he is insane. Another example of Montresor’s insanity is found when he replies to Fortunato’s screams (Baraban). In the story, Montresor states, “I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength” (Poe 1616). Critics view this statement as contributing to Montresor’s unstable state of mind, and thus contributing to his act of revenge (Baraban). The last indirect factor that could contribute to Montresor’s vengeful act, and thus the story’s theme of revenge, is the short story’s social class aspects and how they relate to both Montresor and Fortunato. At this
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