Short story analysis of: The Cask of Amontillado By: Edgar Allen Poe


ENC 1102


02-18-2004



In one of Edgar Allen Poe’s best-known Tales of horror, “The Cask Of Amontillado,” he suggests that pride can be a very dangerous thing. Poe presents the compelling drama of two men, one who will stop at nothing to get the revenge that he deems himself and his family worthy of, and another who’s pride will ultimately be the catalyst for his death. Fortunato falls prey to Montresor’s plans because he is so proud of his connoisseurship of wine, and it is for the sake of his own pride that Montresor takes revenge on Fortunato. In this essay I will examine how Poe utilizes plot elements, style, narration, setting, theme, symbolization, and literary devices in order to create such a horrific and suspenseful masterpiece.


“The Cask of Amontillado” weaves all the plot elements together in such a way as to keep a readers attention throughout the entire story without wanting to put it down. This story starts its inciting incident with the Montresor meeting his friend Fortunato seeking revenge “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge… It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend” (Jerome B et al. 70). Next, the story moves to its rising action in which Montresor explains to Fortunato that he has purchased a cask of amontillado luring Fortunato into the catacombs of Montresor’s wine vaults “I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts” (Jerome B et al. 70). The turning point occurs when they descend deep into the catacombs of the vault toward the elusive amontillado “”Come, let us go.” “Whither?” “To your vaults”” (Jerome B et al. 71). The Climax Occurs after there decent, where Fortunato explores a niche in hopes of finding the amontillado when the Montresor chains Fortunato up and starts to wall him in “At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious… A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it… With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche” (Jerome B et al. 73). The falling action begins as the Montresor finished walling up Fortunato “I forced the last stone into its position” (Jerome B et al. 74). After walling up Fortunato the reader is led to the conclusion in which Montresor wishes that Fortunato rest in peace. Then leaves implying that this story had been eating at him for half a century “Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat” (Jerome B et al. 74)!


Romanticism is defined as neo classicism or the rejection of intellect in which emotions must be use to express thoughts or ideas. These works like “The Cask of Amontillado” are very dramatic pieces that are set in erotic and in an awkward places. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a murder based on emotions hence defining the story as romantic “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (Jerome B et al. 70). Furthermore, the setting is a pre-Lenten carnival in an Italian city, sixth through fifteenth century making it erotic and awkward “was skilful in the Italian vintages…it was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season”(Jerome B et al. 70).



Poe also implemented styles of realism and gothic into this story. Realism is defined as making the story and events come to real life within the reader’s head, or something that is not too far beyond belief. This story, when read in its entirety, seems not too far from reality and sounds