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The Cask of Amontillado

Uploaded by frodo on Nov 20, 2001

In the short horror story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, Poe attempts to convey why both pride and revenge can become dangerous when a person is overwhelmed by either. Poe, through the use of various literary techniques, introduces an horrific drama of two men, one who will stop at nothing to get the revenge that he believes himself and his family worthy of, and another whose pride will ultimately become the instrument of his own death. Fortunato falls prey to Montresor’s plans because he is so proud of his expertise in wine, and it is for the sake of his own pride that Montresor takes revenge on the heedless Fortunato. Poe shows how pride and revenge can make a man become obsessive to the point where he justifies murder—something he normally would never do—through exaggerated reasoning, and how pride can make a man so blind that he walks obliviously to his own death.

The dangers of Montresor’s pride are exemplified in his statement explaining his motivation behind plotting Fortunato’s death. “The thousand injuries at the hands of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (Poe, 173). Montresor is so convinced of the righteousness of his convictions that he “must not only punish but punish with impunity” (Poe, 173). Montresor also states how he must not fail to “make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe, 173). Montresor’s words prove how his prideful obsessions have deluded his mind enough to believe that Fortunato’s wrongs justify his agonizing death. Furthermore, Montresor believes he should go unpunished for his retribution.

Furtunato’s pride, and the danger this imposes upon his life, is seen in how he blinds himself to his obviously perilous situation. Montresor entreats Fortunato to leave the tombs three times mentioning how Fortunato’s cough may be caused by the nitre. Each time Fortunato declines despite his deep cough, which proves how pride has blinded him to his impending doom. However, after Fortunato is locked in his tomb Montresor says “once more let me implore you to return” (Poe, 176) mocking how Fortunato blindly passed up his three chances to escape, because now Montresor “must positively leave” (Poe, 176) him to die. In fact, Fortunato never doubts Montresor’s story, never questions why the cask has been placed within Montresor’s family tomb, or why the cask is...

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Uploaded by:   frodo

Date:   11/20/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,175 words)

Views:   1821

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