The Theme Of Revenge In The Cask Of Amontillado

Decent Essays
Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a murderous tale of revenge. Poe takes the reader on a journey revealing the vengeance sought by a mad man, and the principle behind murder as a punishment justified by revenge. Drunken Fortunato pays the price for offending Montresor. Revenge, as shown in this short story, weakens a person’s grip on reality, and zeros their sight in on getting someone back. Ultimately, revenge is what drives Montresor to plot out and murder his friend Fortunato. This story of a perfect crime, or secret murder, is told creatively. Throughout the story and through the character Montresor, Poe presents ironic twists, and drops hints of Fortunato’s death. He shrewdly uses literary elements to show Fortunato’s …show more content…
(Poe 742) Irony is shown again while Fortunato is being led to the vaults by Montresor. Montresor tells Fortunato of a huge human foot of gold that crushes a serpent rampant and the fangs that are imbedded in the heel of the foot. When Fortunato asks about Montresor’s motto, he says “Nemo me impune lacessit.” Fortunato then replies with “Good!” (Poe 725) This response is ironic because it means “nobody attacks me without punishment”. (Poe 725) This is discussed in the article “The Ironic Double in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”” included in “Studies in Short Fiction”. Walter Stepp writes about this response and identifies “Montresor’s menacing irony, and Fortunato’s further blindness to this irony”. He calls this an “ironic double”. (447) As he drinks wine and follows Montresor’s lead, Fortunato foolishly thinks nothing of this motto and does not comprehend Montresor’s words what-so-ever. He ironically responds positively to a motto that Montresor abides by; the motto that leads to his own death. These ironic twists points to the revenge sought by Montresor on Fortunato, which motivates him to manipulate and kill Fortunato. Irony is also present in the setting. Edgar Allen …show more content…
Poe gives hints to the reader on how the vengeful story will unfold. A big clue is given to the reader in the first paragraph. It is one that tells the purpose of the story, but does not actually reveal the outcome. In the very first sentence, Montresor tells that Fortunato had insulted him, and he “vowed revenge”. The foreshadowing continues in this paragraph; “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.” (Poe 722) Joseph F Kishel writes about this story and this foreshadowing in “Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado” in “Explicator”. He recognizes the hints dropped in this first paragraph, specifically pointing out the revenge filled line that says, “to make himself felt as such to him who has done him wrong.” Kishel explains the role of this foreshadowing and this line as leading Montresor “away from direct threats and simple violence to an elaborate plan aimed at making Fortunato realize the full horror of his fate.” (30) The title of “The Cask of Amontillado” is a clue as well. On page 723, it is revealed to the reader that this “cask of Amontillado” is a cask of wine, and that Fortunato has a weakness for wine. It is foreshadowed to the reader that this will play a major part in the story. One characteristic of the story that may make Poe’s readers suspicious is that Montresor orders his servants not to stir from the house. The fact that Montresor tells his servants this and says that they are not to

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