Dr. R. Solomon
April 3, 2017
In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, he tells a tale of suspense and revenge, of a man seeking revenge on someone who he feels has disrespected him and his family name. The story begins with the main character, Montresor, describing his anger towards the antagonist, Fortunato. Montresor claims that Fortunato has hurt him and talked down on his name, Montresor is seeking quiet and swift revenge, he plots to murder Foruanto during Carnival. Although we don’t know exactly what Fortunato has done to Montresor, we see Montresor is clearly distraught. The main theme in this story is wine. Wine is the antagonist’s one weakness, wine is what brings the two characters together, and wine is what helps Montresor get his final revenge. The setting is old gothic times, from Montresor’s description of his home, “a great stone palace, where my family, the Montresor’s, had lived for centuries.” He also describes them grabbing on to two “brightly burning lights” which we can interpret to be lanterns which means no electricity yet. As the story goes on, Montresor brings Fortunato to what will be his final resting place. Below his palace, this was not just a wine cellar but a resting place as well for his ancestors. This dark and cold setting below ground makes the story all the more gothic, which helps deepen the plot of Montresor seeking his revenge.
As Fortunato and Montresor make their way through this underground place, by luring him into the tunnels under the family estate. It is ironic that they kick through the many bones of past relatives, and Fortunato drank for the dead relatives unaware that soon his bones will be spread across these floors as well. Another ironic aspect to this story is that, as stated earlier, part of the reason Montresor was seeking revenge on Fortunato was because he spoke down on the Montresor family name. Now, as Montresor is getting his revenge he is putting Fortunato to rest alongside the many bodies of the Montresor family. One would think such a “burial ground” would be sacred to a family line, and for Montresor to allow someone’s’ body who hurt him and laughed at his family name to rest among his family all for revenge is ironic. One may think he would be killed in a less sacred place.
In writing for Bright Hub Education, Trent Lorcher discusses many points of symbolism and irony that are sprinkled all throughout E.A Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” One of the first points Mr. Lorcher makes is the symbolism in the characters clothing. Mr. Poe dressed the two characters in certain ways to symbolize their roles in the short fictional story. Fortunato’s outfit consisted of tight striped garb and bells on his head. “Fortunato is dressed as a fool, a symbolic representation of what he is” (Lorcher, 2015). Fortunato’s character in this story is in fact the antagonist and the “fool.” He is fooled by Montresor into thinking they are friends, that Montresor wants him to test a fine wine, and hat Montresor has no foul intentions. Fortunato is lead on a wild goose hunt for the finest of wines, which inevitably leads him to his death.
Along the way Montresor offers many times to turn back, saying Fortunato wasn’t well enough to continue on, but like the fool Fortunato was he pushed forward to his death. Further in this analysis of E.A Poe’s short story, Mr. Lurcher discusses the symbolism of Montresor’s name. “In French, mon tresor means my treasure. The treasure Montresor possesses is the knowledge of the perfect revenge” (Lorcher, 2015). Fortunato dared to detest the Montresor name, Montresor had to seek revenge for his “treasure.”