“The cask of Amontillado” is a story about a crime committed years ago, but the murder attempts to defend his actions, blaming the victim for tempting him to do it.
The thesis statement is that the author uses irony to capture the reader’s attention, by reversing expected situations into surprises.
The story begins with the murder, “montresor”, stating that he had constantly been physically abused by the victim, “Fortunato”, and that he bore it all, over the years. However, when Fortunato stated verbally insulting him, he could not contain it any longer. He planned to punish him with impunity, in order to achieve the revenge he wanted against Fortunato. During the carnival festival, Montressor plans to use Fortunato’s weakness of loving wine in order to kill him. Fortunato is unaware of Montresor’s hatred, as he constantly smiles and talk casually with him, not letting any hate emotion escape him. Montressor tricks Fortunato into believing that he had wine that he needed him to taste, as he believes Fortunato had good taste of wine, and could tell a good wine. At the same time, he plays with Fortunato’s ego by suggesting that he will have Luchesi taste it, as Luchesi was a better tester. This gets Fortunato’s interest and he insists on being the one to test the wine.
Montressor had initially released his house attendants, saying he would be away the whole night. They start their journey to the dump vaults, where Montressor plans to chain Fortunato. The vault is covered by nitre, which makes Fortunato cough. He say’s jokingly, that a cough would not kill him, to which Montresor ironically agrees. Montressor offers him wine, to kill the cough, and as he takes more, Fortunato becomes drunk, and is vulnerable to Montresor’s plan. Once Fortunato becomes drunk, he makes a toast in honour of the dead around them, and Montresor replies, a toast to “your long life” As they talk, Fortunato asks Montressor if he is a mason, Montressor draws a trowel under his cloak, but Fortunato is unaware that the same trowel was to be used to kill him, takes it lightly. In Montresor’s coat of arms, are in scripted word that mean, “no one harms him unpunished”, and coincidentally, the wine they drink, is called, De Grave, as though to symbolise the death that surround them, and Fortunato’s near death. As Montressor chain Fortunato to the walls, driving nails in him, Fortunato thinks it’s a joke and asks him to end the game, and let him go back to his wife. As the reality hits him, he cries, “for the love of God” meaning, e still does not know what he did to deserve this, Montresor drives the last nail, claiming, and “His soul to rest in peace”. He says this and leaves Fortunato alive, to die slowly, and painfully (Poe, 2008).
Edga uses irony in his short story to maintain the reader’s interest in the story, as it captivates contrary to what the reader expects. From the name of the character, “Fortunato,” which means “the fortunate one”? It is ironic that the character is so unfortunate to have a painful death that he least expects. With the vengeance that Montressor has against Fortunato, it is expected that he would be harsh towards him. However, Montresor is casual towards Fortunato that he does not even realise that Montressor hates him, even at the last minute when he is being chained; he still thinks it’s a joke. However, the dramatic irony is evident all through their journey and conversation as the reader is able to tell what is in Montresor’s mind, that Fortunato has no idea of. When Fortunato coughs, Montressor pretends to care about it, and agrees that a cough would not kill him. He does this ironically, because at the back of his mind, he wants to kill him, yet pretending to care about his life. The beginning lines of the story also show irony. Montresor’s claim that He had persevered abuses from Fortunato, yet he could not stand the verbal abuse. It is ironical because it would be normal to react to a physical abuse in such a way, and be more lenient on verbal abuse. The writing on his court of arms, “no one harms him unpunished” is ironical, especially, to think that Fotunato does not notice them. The author’s display of love for oneself and hatred for the enemy is symbolical of human emotions. These two emotions co exist in a normal person, however, most people are never friendly to their enemies. It is therefore ironical that Fortunato could not notice this hatred from Montressor, and for Montressor to suppress his true emotions towards Fortunato.
The author, through his short murder stories, tends to portray the spirit of the dead as being powerful and alive, though unseen. In this story, Fortuato toasts to the dead around them. In Legia, the protagonists cannot forget about his dead wife, and keep thinking about her, even as his second wife falls sick.
He also uses animals to portray heartlessness and death. In both his stories, “The murders in the rule morgue” and “the black cat”, the author uses animals to symbolise that death is caused by them, and only a person with an animalistic heart could kill another person. In this story, Montresor’s mindset is that Fortunato had done grave danger to him, and he deserved a terrible death, as evidenced by Montresor citing his family’s arms,” no one punishes him with impunity” in the court of arms, is a snake, at a foot of a hill, and someone stepping on it, it is therefore evident that the snake, to him, symbolised Fortunato.