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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado


The ‘Cask of Amontillado,’ consistent with the macabre theme apparent in Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, contains an under d depiction of murder and revenge that makes it distinctly within the realm of the author’s style. The short story is able to convey a number of premises without saying as much and direct it to the main plot of the story with the heavy tone of vengeance desired without restraint against Fortunato. The account, as it is written, was told 50 years after the murder with the audience unknown to the reader. Without having to prefix on the history and relationships of the main characters, the reader is quickly apprised of the undertones that tug and pull on the strained connection of Fortunato and Montresor. The mystery of the hostility between the two further adds to the anticipation and the speculation. The story, told in the first person in the point of view of Montresor, makes it a subjective account which nonetheless demonstrates the tension of the scene.

Montresor does give credit to Fortunato as a connoisseur to a certain extent but rebukes him as a quack. By this, he is able to lure him to partake of the treasured Amontillado. It has been said that the story is somewhat a satire on the feud between Poe and another writer, Thomas Dunn English. He wrote a parody titled “The Ghost of the Grey Tadpole” which illustrated Poe as a drunkard. He then challenged the impoverished Poe to file a lawsuit which he then won with damages of $225 paid to him (Barger, p. 84). The tension between the characters endured perhaps years of their acquaintance within the social strata. Fortunato’s blatant undermining of Montresor ultimately demonstrates the fallen status of the latter in their circle. The Poe Encyclopedia describes it appropriately that his work “As a dramatic monologue, it has a brilliance of aesthetic construction that reveals a total mystery of his material in the conjunction of plot, theme and ‘preconceived effect’” (Frank and Magistrale, p.65).

Works Cited
Poe, Edgar Allan. Edgar Allan Poes Annotated Poems. Ed. Andrew Barger. [Memphis, Tenn.]: BottleTree, 2008. Google Books. Web. 18 Feb. 2012.
Frank, Frederick S., and Tony Magistrale, eds. The Poe Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997. Google Books. Web. 18 Feb. 2012.

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