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Poe Analysis: The Cask of Amontillado

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Left for dead, drunk, in the deep catacombs, surrounded by six million dead corpses, perfectly stacked for two hundred miles. No one would want to be in this claustrophobic situation which would frighten anyone to death, let alone read about it. It might be easy to write a short story that’s a little scary, but one that leaves one on edge for the rest of the week? Now that skill is not as easily obtainable. Yet, that is exactly what Edgar Allan Poe did in “The Cask of Amontillado”. In this short story, while the great Paris Carnival has people cheering, just below their noses, people watch on the edge of their seat as Montressor leads drunk Fortunado through the catacombs in search for Amontillado, and the sweet taste of revenge. Best yet, Edgar Allan Poe weaves his eerie thoughts through symbolism into his story. He shows us what one can do during Carnival, and in the depths of the catacombs, all while writing in symbolic word play.

Every February people all over dress in sparkling crazy costumes and parade around the city to celebrate carnival. In “…the supreme madness of the carnival season…” (1), people can enjoy dances, parades, and parties till ash Wednesday followed by lent. An extremely enjoyable festival followed by the less enjoyable lent. Just like in “The Cask of Amontillado” Fortunado’s party and promise of amontillado followed by his last breath shows the symbolic setting while one sits on the edge of their seats waiting for the lent to follow the celebration.The reader watches Fortunato dressed as fool, just as Poe intended, travel down to the damp mysterious catacombs.

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The Catacombs. A dark eerie place full of remains of innocence plagued corpses. One can only imagine that death lies ahead given the skulls which line the walls, for there were too many corpses and not enough caskets. But by the time of 1846, when the story took place, the plague was far gone, and caskets were back in style. Yet, for the poor Foutenato, “I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up.” Poe left the reader uneasy as he left Fourtenato’s “cask” in the title.

The story “The Cask of Amontillado” is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings. Poe is famous for his eerie writings and poems, including: The Raven, Annabell Lee and The Black Cat. But in this particular story he coungered up is about a man named Montresor and his plan to murder Foutinado, in the Catacombs of Paris during Carnival. Doing so by dragging the drunk Fourtinado to the Catacombs and chaining him up and then burying him alive to die slowly, painfully, and alone. There are examples of symbolism, motif, and irony revolving the story “The Cask of Amontillado”. Revolving around the place in where it takes, the motif of Amontillado and Fortunado’s cough.

Symbolism is founded in the very beginning of the story. The setting of “The Cask of Amontillado”. It takes place in the Catacombs of Paris. This is where Fourtinado meets his fate. “…stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs…” (2) This expresses symbolism because the Catacombs are a place in which the people in the 1340’s and 1350’s burried the recent desist, and in the story you know that Fourtinado will die in the catacombs and be buried just like the other thousands of plague stricken corpses. This creates suspense in the story because you don’t know when or how he will die and it is dragged out in a damp eerie environment.

A motif in the story is “The Cask of Amontillado,” so happens to be Amontillado, the meaning of this impressive whine is repeated over and over again and connect frequently to the story. This is mainly because it is the reason why Montesor could so easily get rid of Fortunato, “…I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off” (4). It made it a lot easier to chain him down because he was so drunk he didn’t know what was going on, and by the time he was sober enough to realize what is happening, it was too late. This instance added sympathy aimed towards Fourtinado because he was not capable of fighting Montressor because his extreme state of drunkenness. Leaving poor Fourtinado to watch as his own murder unfolded infront of him. 

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