The Cask of Amontillado Sample Essay

The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado is a short story penned by the famous horror writer, Edgar Poe. The themes of revenge and death are presented as key aspects that advance the storyline. The dark setting of the tale enables the audience to connect with the main subject: death. Even though death is a certainty for every human, the ethics manner in which one comes to this fate is highly contestable. The writer uses different literary techniques to reveal the dark side of humans.

The narrator reveals how Montresor devises a scheme to kill Fortunato. He believes that he possesses the right tools to strike. Although the story is chilling, the author presents it in an entertaining way to portray the effects of being vengeful and having an unforgiving heart (Akbar and Kadima 567). Poe engages the minds of his audience using dramatic irony to show the unintended impacts of revenge.

In The Cask of Amontillado, irony foretells vengeance as Montresor develops a plan to obtain his ultimate revenge on Fortunato. In the end, Montresor sustains injuries. Fortunato, on the other hand, is lured to his death by Montresor during the carnival (Saxton 11). He directs Fortunato where to get advice from about his wine. Ironically, the author praised Fortunato because of his vast knowledge of wines, noting “He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine” (Saxton 10).

The writer employs other variations of irony to enhance his themes. For example, he portrays Montresor as a friendly person even though he despises Fortunato. The fact that Fortunato is not aware of such hatred makes for an ironic association. Irony is meant to examine the dark side of humans. By displaying a friendly attitude, Montresor uses his friendliness as a shield to plan for his revenge against Fortunato.

Montresor’s mission conveys ironic shifts in the story, which makes it poignant.  The author remarks that Fortunato’s weaknesses contribute to his downfall. Specifically, this faintness is exploited by Montresor (Akbar and Kadima 571). Montresor further takes advantage of Fortunato’s weakness of pride to lure him to the catacombs. If Fortunato had not been proud of his status as a wine connoisseur, he would not have been slain. Similarly, pride drives Montresor to seek revenge after being insulted by Fortunato. The writer reveals both Montresor and Fortunato’s actions to communicate his themes of pride as a path to death.

The writer uses his perspective of irony to enhance his themes. Irony is evident at the end of the story where Montresor chains Fortunato and mocks him by stating, “Once more let me implore you to return. No?” (Saxton 13). The statement is ironical by the fact that Fortunato could not free himself because he had been chained.

In addition to irony, Poe uses disguise to enhance the story’s theme. Montresor deceives Fortunato that he had a special discovery relevant to Amontillado. Montresor then strategically arranges for this meeting, which enables the protagonist to strategize and achieve his objectives.  Using various literature styles such as disguise, readers learn about Montresor’s plan to eventually kill Fortunato. Poe successfully exposes the motives of each character. He also uses literary elements to connect the audience with the main themes of the story, which is death. These elements reveal this form of writing as a strategy to reveal the dark side of humans.

Works Cited

Akbar, Nadia Ali, and Rawa Jawad Khadim. “Irony in The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe and “A Good Man is Hard to Find by Mary Flannery O’Connor.” Basic Education College Magazine For Educational and Humanities Sciences, vol. 33, 2017, pp. 567-578.

Saxton, Audrey. “The Devil’s in the Details: A Characterization of Montresor in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”.” Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism, vol. 10, no. 1, 2017, 16.

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