The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado - Stansbury 1 Mari Stansbury...

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Stansbury 1 Mari Stansbury Literary Analysis 2 23 March 2008 The Cask of Amontillado Revenge, pride, and deceit are three major themes in Edgar Allan Poe’s work, “The Cask of Amontillado.” Through his skillful usage of literary devices Poe is able to create a colorful masterpiece that is a masquerade of irony and madness. The imagery in this horror short story will leave readers feeling ill at ease even after the last sentence. The short story is set in Italy during carnival season. It is a cold and wet time of the year. Italy is a country known for its world-renowned wine making and its long pride in family histories. Both of these aspects play major roles in Poe’s tale. In the third paragraph the narrator makes the first mention of wine when he says Fortunado “prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine.” In the end it is this pride that will lead to Fortunado’s demise. When Fortunado comments on the vastness of the catacombs Montresor is leading him down into Montresor makes sure that Fortunado knows that “the Montresors were a great and numerous family.” Clearly we can see the excessive pride of the characters. Carnival season is a major social event; it is a time of partying. During Carnival people wear masks, both literal and figurative, hiding their true identities. In the story Montresor pretends to be friendly to Fortunado, whom he had vowed revenge upon. His mask is a smile. “I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.” When Montresor comes across Fortunado at the carnival, Fortunado is dressed in costume. Ironically he is
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Stansbury 2 dressed as a fool, in a striped dress and bells, which is what Montresor plays him for. Also, the story is set from dusk to midnight; at nighttime is when trickery and evil deeds generally take place in literature. The protagonist in the story is Montresor. He is the narrator, but he is an unreliable one as he is driven by revenge. The first indications of an unreliable narrator come at the beginning of the story when Montresor says, “the thousand injuries of
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The Cask of Amontillado - Stansbury 1 Mari Stansbury...

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