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The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe - Essay

Critical Discussion

❶In much of his fiction, and specifically in "The Cask of Amontillado" , the device helps to focus the action, assists in plot development, and has a profound impact on the main character, often The point of view plays a very important role in influencing the reader's perception of the story.

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Literary Devices in The Cask of Amontillado

Regarded as the originator of the modern short story and a master of the form, Poe established a highly influential rationale for short narrative art, which emphasizes the deliberate arrangement of a story's minutest details of setting, characterization, and structure in order to impress a unified effect on the reader.

In his own work he demonstrated a brilliant command of this technique—often eliciting "terror, or passion, or horror" from his readers—as well as an uncommon imagination suffused with eerie thoughts, weird impulses, and foreboding fear. Renowned for cultivating an aura of mystery and a taste for the ghastly in his fiction, Poe relied on his imagination and literary skills to animate the disconcerting effects of his so-called "tales of horror," especially those dealing with crime and moral depravity.

Among the latter kind, "The Cask of Amontillado" ranks as one of Poe's finest stories. Originally published in November , in Godey's Lady's Book, "The Cask of Amontillado" has since become a classic tale of revenge, distinguished by the subtle irony that pervades many levels of the story and by Poe's uncharacteristic use of dialogue between the protagonist and antagonist as the principal structural device of the narrative.

Themes of betrayal and revenge clearly inform "The Cask of Amontillado," but the pervasive irony of Montresor's narration complicates attempts to understand his motives and other conflicts at the heart of the tale. At the same time, layers of irony also contribute to the story's tone of horror. While Fortunato remains blissfully ignorant of Montresor's true intentions for most of the story, the evident pleasure Montresor takes in relating his story, proudly recalling every detail fifty years after the fact, suggests a state of mind free of remorse and detached from any sense of conscience.

The ironic connotations of the story also inspire darkly comedic moments and evince Poe's satiric sense of humor. Likewise, the proper nouns in the story—Amontillado, Montresor, Fortunato, Luchresi—demonstrate Poe's disposition toward puns and fascination with the multiple meanings of foreign words. The traditional aristocratic code of personal honor and social obligation shapes other aspects of the tale.

Although violations of the code were usually redressed in the form of the duello, here insults are expressed by a duel with words in form of Montresor's dialogue with Fortunato. Other thematic concerns involve the prevalence of masonic imagery in the story, perhaps gesturing toward the Masonic-Catholic conflict that swept the United States at the time of the story's composition, as well as the thematic device of enclosure, which Poe used in many other stories, although its presence in "The Cask of Amontillado" may allude to the popularity of live-burial literature in Poe's era.

Regarded as one of Poe's greatest and most famous tales, "The Cask of Amontillado" has attracted a broad range of commentary representing a wide spectrum of perspectives. Critics generally agree that "The Cask of Amontillado" exemplifies Poe's theory of short fiction, in which every narrative detail of a successful story contributes to a single intense effect.

However, a consensus opinion about specific details remains elusive. Some scholars have disputed the time and place of the action in Poe's story as well as the national origins of the principal characters, while other commentators have suggested that the tale reflects Poe's personal bitterness in the so-called "War of the Literati," which resulted from a series of critical articles entitled "The Literati" that Poe published in Godey's Lady's Book just before "The Cask" appeared.

Psychoanalytic readings have emphasized the macabre and pathological elements in the work, ranging from the psychological implications of Montresor's "motiveless evil" and a perceived division within the psyche of Montresor, or even Poe, to personality transference between the characters.

Others have focused on "The Cask of Amontillado" as a practical application of Poe's theory of perversity, which hinges on apparent irrelevancies. The final line of the story has troubled many commentators: Henninger concluded that Poe "had been writing tales with startling endings, but [in The Cask of Amontillado'] he writes one guaranteed not to startle.

When it does, the effect is so delightfully jarring and puzzling that it is not easily forgotten. Why else should this story. Although many questions of literary indebtedness are open to discussion, still we can be reasonably certain that the origin of Poe's tale, "The Cask of Amontillado," was not wholly inspirational.

But in the immurement which marks the climax of "The Cask of Amontillado" and which Poe again used in the tale of "The Black Cat," both Bulwer-Lytton and Balzac may be disregarded as possible sources.

Headley was one of the most popular writers of his day, for up to over two hundred thousand copies of his works had been sold. In fact, the one review that he wrote of Headley, on The Sacred Mountains, may be regarded as typical of the Norman Leslie school of criticism. Poe was bitter, harsh, and ruthless. In this review he gives evidence of knowing other works by Headley, for he writes that "a book is a 'funny' book and nothing but a funny book, whenever it happens to be penned by Mr.

Although there is no exact evidence to show that Poe had read the Letters From Italy entire, there were other possibilities which might have brought one of Headley's letters containing the germ of "The Cask of Amontillado" to his attention. The letter appeared in the former in the issue of August, , which also contained Poe's article on "Mesmeric Revelation. At this time Poe was no longer on the staff of the Mirror, but no Poe scholar will deny that he was in daily contact with the paper, so far as that was possible, throughout his later career.

His connection with the Mirror was especially sympathetic in the year , which marked the first appearance of "The Raven" in its columns.

In view of these facts, it is not likely that Headley's letter describing an immurement was unknown to him. Nothing is more eloquent of this than his subsequent use of the material. The letter by Headley may be summed up briefly. He and his companion enter the little town of San Giovanni, in Italy.

They are shown through the church of San Lorenzo. In the wall of the church is a niche covered with "a sort of trap-door," containing an upright human skeleton. This ghastly spectacle had been discovered by workmen some years previous to Headley's visit, but it had not been disturbed. Headley describes the skeleton in detail and concludes that the victim had died of suffocation after having been walled-up alive. The history of the In the first part, Felheim explains two requisites for Montresor to perfect his revenge; in the second part Moon accounts for Montresor's failure to exact revenge; and in the third part, Pearce compares Poe's story to a profane rite, or scriptural parody.

In "The Cask of Amontillado" there are two parts, equally important, to Montresor's revenge: Few, however, seem to have much to say about how Poe manages to achieve his extraordinary effect. I would like to propose a possible interpretation which might help explain the undeniable power which the story exerts on readers generation after generation. The critics say that the theme of "The Cask of Amontillado" is revenge.

Hardin Craig says that the first paragraph of the story presents this theme. To be sure, critics and anthologists have almost unanimously expressed admiration for the tale; 1 still, they have Lang, Carl Winter, , pp.

This fact alone raises the question in my mind as to whether Fortunato has really insulted Montresor, or whether Montresor is creating it in his own mind. The point of view of the story can also affect the emotional attachment that the reader gets, or fails to get in this case, for a given character. When a reader is involved in a story, the point of view from where the story is being told is crucial to the feelings the reader has. In this story, Montresor dominates the progression of the story in every regard.

In other words, the reader only knows what Montresor tells him, or what he can infer from the story. This being the case, it is difficult for the reader to develop any liking for another character unless Montresor describes him or him in a favorable way. Fortunato never stands a chance. Montresor begins putting down Fortunato in the reader's mind with the first line of the story, "when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge" Even his most prized skill, wine tasting, is described as "a weak point.

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The Cask of Amontillado Homework Help Questions In "The Cask of Amontillado," what does the narrator's attitude toward his servants reveal about It is clear that this is another key indication of the kind of character that Montresor is as a narrator.

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Analysis of The cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe essaysA cold dish: "The cask of Amontillado" The story of "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe is full of conflict from beginning to end.

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Analysis of The Cask of Amontillado Essay Words | 2 Pages. Analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado” In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the dark side of human nature is illustrated through the character of Montresor and his victim, Fortunato. Analysis of The Cask of Amontillado - Analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado” In “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe, the dark side of human nature is illustrated through the character of Montresor and his victim, Fortunato. Montresor is a manipulative and vengeful person whom is obsessed with the downfall of Fortunato.

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Edgar Allan Poe was a poet as well as an editor, a novelist, a short story writer, and an essayist. He was a pathfinding theorist of the short story, who grounds us in a theory of short fiction and its affects. In this paper we will work on his short story "The Cask of Amontillado". . Amontillado!Fortunato is reveling in the carnival spirit, but it’s not enough. When he hears that Montresor has “a pipe of what passes for Amontillado,” his “energies,” as Booker would Three Act Plot Analysis.