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"The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe

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The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is a short horror story that describes Montresors’ revenge against Fortunato, his best friend whom he claims that he had wronged him by insulting him. The theme of murder as committed by Montresors towards his friend Fortunato and the sequence of events leading to the murder evokes a sense of fear within the reader thus classify the story as horror. The desire for revenge by Montresors, as repeated within the introductory paragraph of the story, illustrates Montresors determination in executing revenge against his friend. Poe’s choice of time and setting of the story which is at night in the lonely catacombs evokes a sense of fear while shadowing the forthcoming events in the reader’s mind. Poe’s description of the setting and it’s environ within the catacombs, leaves the reader foreshadowing while pondering on the events that might come up in the story. Furthermore, Poe makes use of suspense in the plot thus creating an urge within the reader to continue reading and find out how the story will end. Therefore, the use of strong descriptive language, suspense, setting, themes, and foreshadowing are the traits and aspects of horror that demonstrate horror in the story.

The Cask of Amontillado is an epitome of a horror story as Montresors; the protagonist of the story is unstoppable. Allan Poe makes use of strong language of hatred and graphic violence in evoking fear in the mind of the reader that Montresors is up to doing something terrible. Montresor vows to revenge on Fortunato for the injuries he caused him earlier on. Montresors’ plan is to avenge by Fortunato by murdering him silently without leaving a clue. Montresors is pushed by a powerful force to avenge for his injuries caused by Fortunato. “THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” (Poe 1). By repeating the word” revenge” several times in the opening paragraph, the author clearly demonstrates that Montresors cannot be stopped in avenging for his injuries.

Allan Poe effectively makes use of the theme of gothic horror to clarify on the main theme of the story. The setting of the story commences at dusk thus explaining why the characters were adorned in costumes (Poe 1).The dark setting further exemplifies why Fortunato was drunk as it is customary for most society to have men drink in the evenings. The gothic element of darkness is excellently achieved as the story commences at dusk and ends by midnight. Revenge, the main theme of the story is an evil practice carried out in scary strangeness as conceived by the sinister minds planning the revenge (Elena 1).The scary setting of the story where Montresor executed revenge highlights the horror aspects of the story. “We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.” (Poe 1). The unnatural setting in the dark evokes a sense of fear in the reader further highlighting the worst is about to happen.

Horror aspects in a story are further exemplified by the chilling atmosphere created by the choice of words used in telling the story. The horrifying atmosphere as described in the story creates as sense of a paranormal world inhabitable by man. Poe describes the horrific objects, color and environ within the in the catacombs, thus evoking a sense of fear in the reader. “Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones…..” (Poe 1).The Catacombs is described by the gloomy damp and loathe atmosphere as described by the bones lying on the ground, narrow passages and solid walls. The inhabitable environment walked by Montresor and Fortunato in the dark night evokes a horrific fear in the reader as it creates a sense of fear and insinuation that something deadly is about to happen. Poe elaborately describes the environment and atmosphere in the Catacombs by devoting much time in giving the horrific details within so as to evoke horrific sense in the mind of the reader.

Montresors’ boldness as illustrated in his supernatural abilities in executing his evil mission is an example of horror elements in the story. As a result, unexpected happenings aimed at creating suspense elevate the tension level within the reader. Consequently, Poe effectively makes use of foreshadowing by to create and enjoyable and horrific story. As a horror story, The Cask of Amontillado is full of suspense and the author develops the plot of the story by creating a sequence of foreshadowing in describing the mysteries within the story (Poe 1). The suspense within the story is created within the paragraph as the reader keeps on reading with the aim of finding out if Montresors really carried out the revenge successfully. Poe skillfully shaped the story by building upon each literary device used in the story. Further suspense is created when Montresors lures Fortunato into accompanying him to the catacombs (Elena 1). The reader therefore pays keen interest when reading the story in order to find out how Montresor executed his revenge. The chilling atmosphere and horrific setting within the catacombs creates further suspense as the reader keenly reads to evaluate the scope of Montresor’s revenge plan.

Conclusively, Edgar Allan Poe successfully makes use of  the use of strong descriptive language, suspense, setting, themes, and foreshadowing are the traits and aspects of horror that demonstrate horror in the story. Horror is vividly brought out throughout the entire story as the author vividly describes the story line within the plot. Poe combines suspense, setting and strong language in describing the events within the story. Montresors is portrayed as a fearless man of strong will, able to overcome all odds just to execute revenge towards his friend. Moreover, the theme of death and revenge is effectively used in developing the plot the story into creating a strong and interesting horror story.

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