Various Themes In 'the Cask Of Amontillado' By Edgar Allen Poe

1053 words - 5 pages

In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," there are many themes. Revenge is the driving force for the entire story although there are underlying themes as well. The main character is Montresor who is also the narrator. He begins by telling of a great insult by his acquaintance named Fortunato. The plot of revenge is well thought out however, the narrator never reveals the actual offense to deserve death. He exacts his revenge by using this deception to lead Fortunato to his unsuspecting death. Montresor uses his feeling that Fortunato has hurt him with a thousand injuries to fuel his revenge. The theme of pride is portrayed mostly through Montresor’s hurt ego. In addition to his ...view middle of the document...

Deception is a big part of how Poe moves the story. Montresor uses his cunning nature to plot his revenge. He uses the friendship between Montresor and Fortunato to paint a picture of deception. Fortunato has no idea that he is being led into a trap and that Montresor secretly plans to kill him. Montresor knows his target is fond of drinking and catches him when he is vulnerable. Fortunato’s drunken state added to his pride in winetasting, Montresor is easily able to manipulate him by tempting him with his competition’s name to entice him. Montresor even goes so far as to suggest he may want to stay back because he is coughing but it is most likely a false concern because he realizes that Fortunato’s ego will not allow him to stay back. In addition to Montresor’s cunning nature in manipulating Fortunato, he shows his cleverness by making sure he has no attendants at home and knowing they will not return by giving “them explicit orders not to stir from the house.” (249) Once again using deception, Montresor tell his servants not to stir knowing that his servants would do the opposite as soon as he turned his back. This allows for no viable witnesses to observe his actions or tell of his crime.
While Montresor’s deception is well thought out, Fortunato’s ego added to his drunken state kept him from noting obvious signs that Montresor’s intentions weren’t exactly as stated. In this story, Poe shows much irony through the theme of revenge. The dramatic irony that Montresor will find relief in Fortunato’s death when it actually becomes the one thing that disallows his retribution. As Montresor leads Fortunato to his death there is a foretelling that he will have no peace. Even his offer for Fortunato to turn back due to illness is a show of how there are two stories being told. He risked that Fortunato would agree. And although he is fairly confident, there is still a certain risk that he takes that is...

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