20 February 2014
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” takes the idea of back-stabbing to a whole new level by the use of deception as a means of revenge. Poe constructs the story almost completely in dialogue between Montresor, who shows himself as being vengeful, insane, and clever, and Fortunato, an Italian friend of Montresor’s and his sworn enemy, whom Montresor has planned to “punish with impunity.” The situation proves that it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside; it’s what’s on the inside that matters. This is made obvious by the use of revenge, deception, and persistence.
The situation between the two men establishes the story’s superior tone of revenge. Fortunato, Montresor’s sworn enemy, has insulted Montresor in some unknown way. “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe 14). The idea of revenge is one that is almost instinctual to human nature, hence Montresor promising to avenge himself, no matter the cost. Even though Poe magnifies and takes the idea to the utmost extreme level of premeditated murder, the story reflects an emotion that is familiar to most humans. Like Montresor, there have been many times when one is mad at another, but unable to recall why they are angered. The only definite is the 'who' they are angry with. This is exactly what the reader encounters with Montresor. Montresor pulls Fortunato away from the carnival to accompany him to the cask because Fortunato has expert wine tasting skills. Nevertheless, by the end of the story, Montresor shows himself to be both the more villainous and the more intelligent being. “As he tells Fortunato, he comes from a family with a motto and a coat of arms that indicates a long tradition of revenge, and he ignores any pangs of heart sickness by blaming the damp and shutting Fortunato into the burial ground of his avenging family” (Wang par.11). Fortunato falls into Montresor’s plan...