The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado

by Edgar Allan Poe

Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive in this case, by immurement.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 4.09
  • Pages: 20
  • Publish Date: February 2nd 2004 by BookSurge
  • Isbn10: 1594561869
  • Isbn13: 9781594561863

What People Think about "The Cask of Amontillado"

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic tale of revenge. Since there are dozens of posts here, my review will take a particular slant: what German pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has to say about the psychology of revenge and how the revengeful narrator in Poes tale relates to Schopenhauers insights. He then writes, Suffering caused by the will of another, on the other hand, includes a quite peculiar and bitter addition to the pain or injury itself, namely the consciousness of someone elses superiority, whether in point of strength or of cunning, together with that of ones own impotence. This is what happened in the aristocrat-narrators mind he was insulted by Fortunato. I say in the aristocrat-narrators mind since we as readers dont know if Fortunato actually intended to insult him. Poes tale ends with the narrator-avenger completing his stone and plaster task and feeling his heart grow sick from the dampness of the catacombs.

The terror of this tale isnt just in the final act, but in the behavior of the narrator, Montresor. Montresor says at the very beginning of this story that he has been insulted by a thousand injuries, all perpetrated by Fortunato. Montresor believes that Fortunato looks down upon him. There is this moment in the story when the Montresor coat of arms is revealed: a golden foot on a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot's heel, with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one attacks me with impunity"). The question is, depending on how you read this tale, is Montresor the snake being crushed or is he the embedded fangs? The fact that Fortunato does not believe Montresor is further proof that he despises him. The perfect time for a strangulation, a knifing, a drowning or a bludgeoning, and Fortunato would just be thought of as an unfortunate victim of some ruffians, but Montresor wants something more. At the beginning of this sentence, Im feeling oddly relieved to discover that he is feeling some remorse, maybe the madness that has taken him over has finally been overcome by some horror at his own actions, but of course, all of that is quickly dispelled by him blaming those feelings on the dampness. There are a couple of points, too, where he suggests to Fortunato that they should turn back, but he tempered each of those suggestions with a prod that would insure that his inebriated friend would want to continue.

Typically this is considered a tale of revenge. You also get the sense that Fortunato is more successful than the narrator (his name, Fortunato, isn't particularly subtle), so perhaps the killing is simply the result of jealousy.

Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature: Our narrator Montresor, an Italian nobleman, explains in a suspiciously vague way how his friend Fortunato has mortally offended and insulted him. And so the two go (Montresor first donning a mask) to Montresors palazzo and then into the depths of its damp catacombs hung with white webs of nitre, Montresor protesting all the time that his friend really shouldnt come, but all the time luring him in like an evil-hearted spider The Cask of Amontillado is one of Poes truly memorable horror stories, a tale of vengeance, and more enigmatic and complex than it appeared to me on first read, many years ago.

Book Review 4+ of 5 stars to The Cask of Amontillado, a Gothic short story written in 1846, by Edgar Allan Poe. Perhaps one of my favorite of all Poe's works, this literary genius stimulates one of everyone's deepest and scariest fears: to be buried alive. Poe goes to great lengths to describe the process, the emotions and the setting. What I love about Poe's work is his ability to draw readers into a darkness that permeates all our senses.

Poe presents us a placid and dark story that is deception at its finest. The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. Did Fortunato indeed insulted our narrator? As I was reading along, I wondered: is this only a threat, a scare or will the narrator only be satisfied with the inexorable demise?

He approaches Fortunato during a carnival wearing a mask of black silk. Fortunato (Italian for fortunate) wears the multi-coloured costume of the court jester, including a cone cap with bells. Montresor is an extremely shrewd person and wants Fortunato to play into his hands, so he tells him that if he is too busy, he will ask a man named Luchesi to taste the wine. Fortunato is eager to taste the wine so that he could determine for Montresor whether it is truly Amontillado. Montresor wears a black silk mask. Fortunato is wearing a multi-coloured costume of the court jester.

Within three years of Poes birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poes siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poes handwriting on the backs of Allans ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.