Revenge In Edgar Allan Poe's The Kingsk Of Elizabetho

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In the age of Poe’s Eighteenth century Venice the rules for revenge, as specified by Montresor, the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe’s “THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO,” are rigorous. Montresor insists on the fulfillment of two absolute standards. The 1st is, “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser.” (Poe. 32). Montresor’s 2d dictum is that a wrong, “is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.” (Poe. 32). Thus, we have Montresor’s definition of the perfect crime. The plotting, execution and immunity of a perfect crime is regularly presented to be a lofty criminal aspiration; but one necessarily doomed to failure. It is a rooted belief that in both life and fiction, while …show more content…
The narrator, Montresor, is introduced as a man in the grip of an enormous resentment and obsessed with revenging himself upon his nemesis, Fortunato. In the first sentence Montresor reveals that he has already suffered thousands of injuries; but when Fortunato, “ventured upon insult I (Montresor) vowed revenge.” (Poe.32). Revenge is a fatal passion, embedded in the human psyche. It is half of the eldest human’s lizard brain’s defense against mortal threat: the well-known ‘fight or flight’ response. The seeds of Montresor’s criminal perfection are sown in his adherence to a Machiavellian proverb: “Men should either be treated generously or destroyed because they take revenge for slight injuries. For huge ones they cannot.” (Machiavelli). Montresor’s family’s long lineage has lived beneath a crest proclaiming revenge. It is, “A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.” (Poe.34). The motto is, “Nemo me impune lacessit” [No one challenges me with impunity.] (Poe. 35). Thus fortified, Montresor is a formidable opponent, historically trained in vendetta. A French translation of the name Montresor reveals that his name literally means to show fate. Seemlingly Montresor lives up to his name as his delivers Fortunato his fate. Of course the saving strength of an adrenaline …show more content…
While this premise appears to have been proven beyond doubt, careful analysis does provide an escape route from Poe’s apparent moral depravity in advocating crime and no punishment. It lies in Poe’s setting the scene during the safely remote eighteenth century in the infamously decadent Venice (staff) during, “the supreme madness of the carnival season.” (Poe. 32). Then too, Montresor is obviously as insane in his sociopathic way as Fortunato becomes in his silent descent into madness. Thus Poe’s thriller can safely be read as fantastical madness, not requiring moral righteousness. However, the insidious, lingering thought that such a thing has been done, is being done and will be done, knocks like a mysterious midnight caller with a warning of a chaotic presence in the world far more horrific than the tale’s savage

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