Revenge In Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask Of Amontillado

732 Words 3 Pages
Edgar Allan Poe in the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado” (1846), suggests that revenge is acceptable if it is taken against those individuals have done harm to others. Poe supports his suggestion by telling the tale of a man named Fortunato, who was buried alive because of his arrogance and maltreatment towards his so-called friend, Montresor. The author’s purpose is to suggest that revenge can be carried out against those who have done ill-fated actions so that fairness and equality can be restored. The author writes in an informal tone so that readers can easily empathize with the message he is trying to portray.
The story begins with Montresor explaining how he has been hurt many times before by Fortunato as noted by the opening sentence
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1). Fortunato pushes the limits and with an insult he overfills the glass of Montresor’s understanding, which leads to Montresor declaring revenge towards his friend. Montresor believes that he must “punish with impunity” (Poe, para 1), in other words, that he is to be free of any fault towards him, as his motives have high validity. As the story progresses Montresor describes how he successfully crafts his task of ending Fortunato’s life. Montresor notes that “He [Fortunato] had a weak point… he prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine” (Poe, para. 3). Montresor cleverly exploits this to his advantage by tricking Fortunato on the perfect day, carnival season, to visit his home to taste a rare wine called the “Amontillado”. Montresor increases Fortunato’s inebriation by providing him more wine as they walk through the catacombs of Montresor’s home in search of the planned destination. Once there Montresor notes “…I fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples… From one of these depended a short chain, from the other …show more content…
Montresor does not consider himself a despicable man as he notes “You, who so well know the nature of my soul” (Poe, para. 1). However, because his patience has already run thin he can’t bear the abuse anymore. The following lines illustrate this idea, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe, para. 1). It seems to me that Montresor is a good man who has been enduring the abuse of Fortunato for an extensive time. After reaching his limit, Montresor believes that he is entitled to carry out revenge without facing punishment since he has the worthy purpose of restoring fairness. According to the Moral Criticism Approach, “one moral standard is to look at the overall presentation of complex moral dilemmas and consequences” (Doing Literary Criticism, page 86). It is noted that “English poet Percy Shelly praised the way literature cultivates our moral imagination, our ability to make a good faith effort to understand or even inhabit the viewpoint of someone unlike us, to put ourselves into their shoes and see them as they might see themselves” (Doing Literary Criticism, page 86). In summary, when reading “The Cask of Amontillado”, we should not judge Montresor for the heinous crime he committed, but instead attempt to be the ones in his situation and understand why he

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