Essay, Research Paper: Cask Of Amontiallo By Poe

Literature: Edgar Allan Poe

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In the short story "The Cask of Amontillado," Edgar Allan Poe writes
in first person point of view, from the perspective of Montresor, the diabolical
narrator of this tale, who vows revenge against Fortunato. Montresor began to
develop the perfect plan for retribution. During the carnival season, Montresor
encounters Fortunato and decides to implement his plan carefully not to arouse
Fortunato's suspicions through irony. Poe's story describes the inner workings
of a murderer's mind, Montresor, who has lived the memory of Fortunato's death
for fifty years. Poe uses different types of irony in the conversations between
Montresor and Fortunato. First, Poe uses dramatic irony in the story. For
example, Montresor expresses concern about Fortunato's health. Montresor points
out, "Come, I said, with decision, we will go back; your health is
precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy as once I
was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you
will be ill, and I cannot be responsible" (434). Both the reader and
Montresor know of his devious plan of murder that awaits Fortunato when he
descends into the catacombs in search for the wine. But, Fortunato, naпve,
does not suspect that Montresor is capable of such an act. Montresor pretends
that he is concerned about Fortunato's health, when he says they should go back.
In fact, Montresor could care less about Fortunato's health; he is just
concerned about his own advantage of manipulation by luring him into the
catacombs to carry out his plan. Montresor also intends to be responsible for
Fortunato's death. Montresor does not want Fortunato to die of a cough or from
the niter in the catacombs, but of his own destruction. The drunken Fortunato is
the only one in the story who is unaware of Montresor's real motives; which
demonstrates situational irony. Another example is when the two men are having a
conversation about returning to the carnival, but Fortunato insists going to the
catacombs with Montresor. Fortunato states, "Enough, he said; the cough is
a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough" (434).
Then Montresor states, "True--true, I replied; and, indeed, I had no
intention of alarming you unnecessarily--but you should use all proper
caution" (434). Poe illustrates this irony: the reader knows of the
narrator's intentions but Fortunato does not. Little does Fortunato know how
true his words are. Fortunato is not going to die of a cough, but due to
Montresor's deceit. Secondly, Poe uses numerous examples of verbal irony. For
instance, when Montresor toasts to Fortunato's long life. Montresor says,
"Drink…" (434). Then Fortunato says, "I drink, …to the buried
that repose around us." Then again, Montresor says, '"And I to your
long life"' (434). Montresor, however, does not intend for Fortunato to
live very long at all. On the contrary, Montresor is toasting because he wants
Fortunato to accompany his ancestors in the catacombs. Furthermore, Montresor
addresses Fortunato as his dear friend, when they first encounter each other.
Fortunato believes that Montresor is his friend, when actually he intends to
make a fool out of him. Thus, Montresor states, "My dear Fortunato, you are
luckily met. How remarkably you are looking today! But I have received a pipe of
what passes Amontillado, and I have my doubts" (432). Montresor calls
Fotunato "dear" when he hates this man with a passion. He also knows
that Fortunato is not dressed appropriately; he is dressed as a clown, but
Montresor still compliments him on his attire, because his attire fits with
Montresor's plans- to make a fool out of him. Moreover, Montresor points out,
"My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature" (433).
Montresor again calls him his friend, which is ironic because he hates Fortunato
and considers him an enemy. He also says that Fortuanto is good, but Montresor
knows that he is not good because Fortunato insulted him. After being insulted
by Fotunato, Montresor is not about to consider him a true friend and has
planned to kill him out of revenge. In this tale of revenge, Poe illustrates a
variety of ironic situations between Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor preys
upon Fotunato's tendency to drink, as well as upon is vanity. Poe's story
reveals that Fortuanto's fate is death, not life. Montresor is so evil that he
tries to convince the reader that his intentions are honorable. Every detail of
irony is so perfectly crafted to show Montresor's cleverness to deceive his
"dear friend" Fortunato, by implying one thing but actually meaning
another.. Montresor skillfully illustrates a confession of a murderer and
justification for the actions.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Cask of Amontillado." Perrine's Story and
Structure. 9th ed. Ed. Michael Rosenberg. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College,
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