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Theme Analysis of Cask of Amontillado

The short story of the Allan Poe revolves around the fatal revenge from a friend. The insult by the friend has spur the emotions of man to take revenge. The narrator has kept the story according to the 19th-century engaging style. The perspective of the story is from the murderer. The narrator has specific plan for the revenge. It is not merely revelation of the facts and happenings in the story. The vengeful acts are justified for the reader. With the confidence in their decisions and revengeful actions, the characters did not feel any guilt. The contrast between the freedom and the confinement is excessive in the short story. The Montresor’s overwhelming need for the revenge is the honor and the pride.


Other than the problem of honor and the pride the story also unfolded the nature and type of the guilt. According to the narrator, Fortunato has insulted him. The writer was the perfectionist. It is difficult to believe that he will provide the Montresor strong support without underlying a thousand injuries he has suffered. The description of the injuries at the opening of the story does not include the expository style. The writer was aware that he would use those injuries at any stage of the story. The reader can easily overlook the injurious behavior described by the writer. The Fortunato was rich, and the Montresor was poor. They have dealing goods with the millionaires. Both the person have brought antiques, luxuries and the pure wines.

They sold the products to the wealthy foreigners. The Fortunato as he was rich can easily outbid to the Montresor. It was the business dealings that Montresor has suffered the number of injuries. The Montresor mostly consider himself as the French man. However, he was born in Italy and also lives in the same country. He provides his victim the French wine two times while they were under the ground. The family of the Montresor lived for some time in Italy. He is considered as the outsider by the aristocracy (Axelrod, 15). The sadistic pleasure of the Fortunato reminds him that he is an outsider. The Montresor was known to the fact that Fortunato planning for beating him out of all the attractive deals. This understanding of Montresor against the Fortunato’s character makes him the enemy of the later. However, the Montresor never unfolded those thousand injuries.

The Montresor planned to punish the Fortunato over the insult he perceives. The type of the abuse was unknown, and the study reveals that it would be minor because there were suspicions from the Fortunato. The Montresor was deranged clearly which also shows that no bigger mistake committed by the Fortunato. Before the attempt, Montresor clears the house from all of the servants to show his anonymity. He was well known that if he told them anything, it would lead to the more significant harm to himself. He also know that Fortunato lies drinking and giving him the wine will provide him smoothness and calm.

Montresor leads to the Fortunato into the underground crypt. There were bones and wines placed around them. To have the trust of the Fortunato, Montresor pretended that he is keen about his health. Certain jokes are also passed by him to make laugh to the Fortunato. The drunken Fortunato after experiencing all of these things from his friend became comfortable that there is nothing suspicious about Montresor. The Montresor has planned all that before getting his friend into the darkness of life. The material for the killing was hiding, and he guides his friend to move in. As Montresor brick the niche up Fortunato was alarmed. However, his realization of the plan was too late when a close friend ultimately ended his life. At the end of the story, the Montresor became grew sick. He immediately gets away from the scene of the crime because no one will reach to the body.

The desire for taking revenge is always influenced the inner instinct of the man. There are the number of battles and wars with the only purpose of making retaliation from the opponents. In the story, the same thirst for vengeance lead to the end of precious life of Fortunato. He has to die because his friend does not want to accept the insult that goes unpunished. It is clear that the honor and the pride of Montresor override his all feeling. This revenge has revealed the two different qualities (Foy, 255). The first one is that it must not be retributed, and the second is that the person who went through the punishment must know who has punished him. The Montresor has said that he wanted to be avenged at length. This implied that there is long and lengthy planning for revenge. The utterance also reveals that Montresor anticipated the joy.

At the page one fifty-four of the story, Fortunato asks about the coat of arms of his family. The Montresor responded that it was the significant human foot that meant to crush a serpent rampant. Foot revealed as a symbol for the Montresor and the snake he symbolizes for the Fortunato. The example of the snake who bites the foot means that Fortunato has hurt and gave the loss to his friend. Certain symbols in the story unfolded many links with the future happenings and the things that are interrelated. Through such kind of symbols the Montresor warn and try to convey his message towards the Fortunato, but unfortunately, the friend was unable to understand the symbolic language of the killer friend. If the Fortunato could have realized the inner feeling of his friend he might escape from the scene.

The use of symbols is critical to the story. Various ironical symbols unfolded the real meaning like the grew sick heart of Montresor at the time when he killed his friend. The soul goes sick because he buried a man alive. It was ironic for the readers. Upon meeting with the Fortunato, the Montresor have told him that “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met.” The Fortunato had the idea that his friend is greeting him upon the meeting. However Montresor by implying the word lucky means that the carnival was presenting the prime time for the murder of his friend (Saxton, 137). The writer of the story unfolded the cleverness of the Montresor many times. For example, he told that he bought a cask of Amontillado without having any contact with the expert. He does this because he was afraid of losing the bargain. There are other ironical gestures by the protagonist against his friend.

The human tendency is natural which mostly resist those asking for what to do. In the practical life, we also come across drug abusers who are regular towards these activities. Drunks’ are used to such activity. Pretending the Fortunato to turn back his friend suggest him that there would be no danger ahead. He also added that there are no ulterior motives for leading the Fortunato to the onward. He mocks the terror of the Fortunato and enjoys that horror time on his friend. The purpose of the narrator’s on May rest in peace was that he wanted to achieve the complete satisfaction, closure and the revenge. He also went through the ill feelings against his friend Fortunate. He will have no such belief anymore after the expiry of the life of Fortunato.

The perfect and the complete revenge according to the Montresor’s is depicted in the line where he says, I must not only punish but punish with the impunity (Saxton, 14). This shows that his inner feelings are words for the Fortunato. He can forgive or choose other kinds of punishment. The ending words of the story also reveal certain meaning. “In pace requiescat” implied the sense of sincerely. He can utter these words because he is the only one who knows where the Fortunato lies. In the same way, the word closure identifies in the text as cleaning of the hatred and the bad memories from the heart. The fact that the bones of the Fortunato have not been discovered from the fifty years is proof of Montresor punishment with the impunity.


Concluding the discussion on the short story by Allan Poe, it is worth mentioning that the tale consists of several themes of revenge. The text reveals that story is the reflection of author thoughts and personal involvement. It could be the written enjoyment of the author as nobody was hurt physically. The author has also justified acts of revenge for its reader. The quintessential tale of the Amontillado became the full revenge story as the complete absence on the part of Montresor regarding the acceptance of guilt. The extreme contrast between the freedom and the confinement provides the reader a fresh feeling. However, the primary purpose of the revenge was the insult of honor and the pride of the Montresor.

Works Cited

Axelrod-Sokolov, Mark. “The Madness of Insult in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado.” Madness in Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 1-16.

Foy, Roslyn Reso, and William E. Lambo. “Freemasonry, the Brethren, and the Twists of Edgar Allan Poe in THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO.” The Explicator 73.4 (2015): 252-256.

Saxton, Audrey. “The Devil’s in the Details.” Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism, Vol. 10: Iss. 10.1 (2017): 137.

Saxton, Audrey. “The Devil’s in the Details: A Characterization of Montresor in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism 10.1 (2017): 16.



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