~ My Interpretation of “The Cask of Amontillado” ~

Did you find the video of “The Cask of Amontillado”  interesting?  Hopefully it left an impression upon you, as it did me.  Edgar Allan Poe has many impressionable works.  This work is one of the most brilliant, horrifying stories that I have ever read.  The first time I read this short story, I was unable to experience the true brilliance within the story.  One must read “The Cask of Amontillado” several times in order to capture the brilliantly developed plot within the story.  Poe uses many brilliant tactics within this story making it impressionable.  One brilliant tactic is the use of dramatic irony.  The dramatic irony of this short story blindly leads Fortunato to his doom.  Fortunato is lured to his own doom through the love and pride he holds for wine.  Montresor states, “He had a weak point-this Fortunato-although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine.” (Poe 144)  Montresor is aware of the pride and knowledge Fortunato holds for wine.  Montresor uses this knowledge os Fortunato’s pride as bait to lure him to the vault, where Montresor claims to have some Amontillado.  “I have my doubts; I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter; You were not to be found and I was fearful of losing a bargain; As you are engaged, I am on my way to see Luchesi. If anyone has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me-” (144) Montresor realizes Fortunato will reject the fact that he is turning to Luchesi for advice on Amontillado.  Montresor’s belief  is correct and is able to   lure Fortunato to his vault without difficulty.  Fortunato states, “Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry…. To your vaults.” (145)  The brilliant dramatic irony used lures Fortunato, without hesitation, into a trap resulting in his own doom.  Montresor’s malicious intentions are to take revenge on Fortunato.

Why does Montresor want revenge on Fortunato?  Brilliantly the story leaves out the answer to this question.  Another tactic Poe brilliantly uses, purposefully leaving out information in order to create suspense and mystery; causing the reader to wonder.  The story begins with Montresor’s statement “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.” (144)  Poe brilliantly, purposely leaves how the insult that pushes Montresor over the edge, leading him to want revenge on Fortunato.  For decades, many scholars and other critics have thrived on the ability to try to analyze such tactics.  This analytical joy in attempting to uncover the untold truth will continue for many decades to come.  Critic David S. Reynolds states, “In the interest of achieving unity, Poe purposely leaves several questions unanswered; The tale is remarkable for what it leaves out.” (Reynolds 183)  Montresor states, “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity…the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe 144)  Again, Poe emphasizes a wrong Fortunato has done to him.  Montresor emphasizes the need to make Fortunato painfully aware of what is happening to him as he is murdered in order to satisfy his own pain that resides due to Fortunato’s insult.  Montresor states, “I continued…he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.” (144)  Montresor is planning to destroy Fortunato.  Even though Poe leaves out what the insult was Fortunato inflicted on Montresor, we do know that it was terrible enough to result in Fortunato’s immolation.  Poe italicized “now” in order to emphasize the purposeful actions of Montresor.  Montresor smiles to blindly lure Fortunato to his vault where he can immolate him as planned.  Not only is Poe brilliant at word play but he is also brilliant at the play of words.

Only a brilliant writer can play on words as effectively as Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe creates verbal irony by playing on words with various meanings, symbols and interpretations.  My opinion, this tactic makes Poe the impressionable writer he is.  Poe uses symbolic words throughout “The Cask of Amontillado”.  The play of words of the character’s names are the best example of verbal irony within this story.  The actual meaning behind the word Fortunato is the fated one or the fortunate one.  In this short story, Fortunato is fated by Montresor but ironically not fortunate.  The actual meaning behind the word Montresor is monster.  This fits Montresor’s character due to his action of killing Fortunato.  However, his motive is what causes the irony.  Montresor does not kill Fortunato because he is a monster.  He kills Fortunato as a reaction to some insult inflicted upon him by Fortunato.  Emotion plays the main role in Montresor’s motive.  A monster would not act according to emotions.

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado” is complicated yet intriguing.  Brilliant tactics like: Dramatic irony, Verbal Irony, and purposefully leaving out information is what makes this short story impressionable.  He designs the combination of suspense and mystery from a horrifying climax.  After you have read my interpretation, please watch the video again inspired by this short story.  Feel free to leave comments on this page on your interpretation.  Compare and contrast your interpretation with mine.  There are different perspectives that can be percieved on this short story.



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