The Cask Of Amontillado And The Birthmark By Nathaniel Hawthorne

1585 Words 7 Pages
Gothic fiction is one of the most intriguing and captivating, if not most popular, literary genres for a reason. Branded mainly by the elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, this style of writing, whose name derives from the dark and decaying gothic architecture and art, is also rich in romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and sentiment. Originated in England in the second half of the 18th century, the gothic fiction has spread its popularity across continental Europe by the end of the century, reaching as far as Russia. However, it took almost a century for the literary genre to reach its peak, not in Europe, but in North America, through the works that have become known as the American gothic fiction. The uniqueness of this …show more content…
The short story The Cask of Amontillado, written by the celebrated American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe, is a classic tale of mystery and terror. First published in 1846, The Cask of Amontillado is a story about revenge written in a first-person voice. As a result of numerous injuries and an insult that he apparently suffered from his acquaintance Fortunato, the narrator, Montresor, plots a revenge and secret murder. Told explicitly from the character’s point of view, the story focuses mainly on the actions that Montresor takes to realize his wicked plan. Poe masterfully controls the plot through the first-person voice of Montresor, as the tale said in this fashion builds more tension and suspense with every sentence. “The Cask of Amontillado indicates how language becomes a monstrous weapon in the hands of a …show more content…
Poe is a master of use of figurative language. This is apparent from the numerous clues perfectly hidden throughout the story, beginning with the title itself. Cask does not literary means a barrel only, where wine is typically stored, but it can be associated with casket as well. This strongly suggests that Fortunato’s curiosity to find a cask of a rare Amontillado leads him to Montresor’s catacombs, where, instead, he finds his own death. Fortunato’s outfit during the carnival is another powerful symbol, as it portrays him dressed as a fool, something that he will ultimately become at the end of the story. However, the Montresor’s family emblem is, perhaps, the most significant symbol in the story. The emblem represents a huge human foot of gold, in a field azure, that crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel; with the Latin saying Nemo me impune lecessit (No one provokes me with impunity). The emblem is a pure illustration of Montresor’s relationship with Fortunato throughout the story. Fortunato has wounded Montresor’s pride by insulting him, represented in the serpent biting the heel, which triggers Montresor’s revenge in taking Fortunato’s life, represented in the foot crushing the serpent’s head. Nevertheless, the ultimate irony in this mesmerizing tale

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