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Poe's Short Stories

How It All Goes Down

❶In general, this story fits well into Poe's dictum that everything in a well-written story must contribute to a total effect.

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At a Glance
“The Cask of Amontillado” (1846)
In the story “William Wilson,” the character known as The Other is

Poe may have known bricklaying through personal experience. Many periods in Poe's life lack significant biographical details, including what he did after leaving the Southern Literary Messenger in Ingram wrote to Sarah Helen Whitman that someone named "Allen" said that Poe worked "in the brickyard 'late in the fall of '".

This source has been identified as Robert T. Allen, a fellow West Point student during Poe's time there. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. New Essays on Poe's Major Tales. Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature. Archived from the original on Studies in Short Fiction. John Stott, Graham Winter Old Boston in Early Photographs. Literary Trail of Greater Boston. Light Artillery — First Lieutenants of the 4th U.

University of Illinois Press, Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. The Edgar Allan Poe Review. Its Cultural and Historical Backgrounds". University of Notre Dame Press. Edgar Allan Poe, A to Z: Retrieved 20 June The Black Cat and Other Plays: Adapted from Stories by Edgar Allan Poe ". Penn State University Press. Terror of the Soul". The Cask of Amontillado. A Prose Poem Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikisource.

This page was last edited on 14 September , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Montresor seeks revenge on Fortunato for some unspecified insult by luring him down into his family vaults to inspect some wine he has purchased. In fact, from the very beginning, every action and bit of dialogue is characterized as being just the opposite of what is explicitly stated. The action takes place during carnival season, a sort of Mardi Gras when everyone is in masquerade and thus appearing as something they are not.

Montresor makes sure that his servants will not be at home to hinder his plot by giving them explicit orders not to leave, and he makes sure that Fortunato will follow him into the wine cellar by playing on his pride and by urging him not to go. Moreover, the fact that Montresor knows how his plot is going to end makes it possible for him to play little ironic tricks on Fortunato. When Fortunato makes a gesture indicating that he is a member of the secret society of Masons, Montresor claims that he is also and proves it by revealing a trowel, the sign of his plot to wall up Fortunato.

The irony of the story cuts much deeper than this, however. At the beginning, Montresor makes much of the fact that there are two criteria for a successful revenge—that the avenger must punish without being punished in return and that he must make himself known as an avenger to the one who has done him the wrong.

Nowhere in the story, however, does Montresor tell Fortunato that he is walling him up to fulfill his need for revenge; in fact, Fortunato seems to have no idea why he is being punished at all. He tells Fortunato that he has acquired something that could pass for Amontillado, a light Spanish sherry. Montresor tells Fortunato that if he is too busy, he will ask a man named Luchesi to taste it.

Fortunato apparently considers Luchesi a competitor and claims that this man could not tell Amontillado from other types of sherry. Fortunato is anxious to taste the wine and to determine for Montresor whether or not it is truly Amontillado. Montresor has strategically planned for this meeting by sending his servants away to the carnival.

The two men descend into the damp vaults, which are covered with nitre, or saltpeter, a whitish mineral. Apparently aggravated by the nitre, Fortunato begins to cough. The narrator keeps offering to bring Fortunato back home, but Fortunato refuses.

Instead, he accepts wine as the antidote to his cough. The men continue to explore the deep vaults, which are full of the dead bodies of the Montresor family.

Later in their journey, Fortunato makes a hand movement that is a secret sign of the Masons, an exclusive fraternal organization. Montresor does not recognize this hand signal, though he claims that he is a Mason.

Edgar Allan Poe

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Summary The narrator, Montresor, opens the story by stating that he has been irreparably insulted by his acquaintance, Fortunato, and that he seeks revenge. He wants to exact this revenge, however, in a measured way, without placing himself at risk.

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The narrator leads Fortunato deeper and deeper into the catacomb, getting him drunker and drunker along the way. Fortunato keeps coughing, and the narrator constantly .

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Lesson Summary. To wrap it up, Edgar Allan Poe's short story 'The Cask of Amontillado' is the story of a man named Montresor who decides to seek revenge against a man named Fortunato, who has insulted him. He meets Fortunato at a carnival, lures him into the catacombs of his home, and buries him alive. “The Cask of Amontillado” is one of the clearest examples of Poe’s theory of the unity of the short story, for every detail in the story contributes to the overall ironic effect. The plot is relatively simple.

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Because both the audience and Montresor are aware of the unfortunate Fortunato's impending death, dramatic irony also plays a role in the comedy of horrors of "The Cask of Amontillado." Dramatic irony is the result of the disconnect that occurs when a character, namely Fortunato, is not aware of the true meaning of his own actions. Summary "The Cask of Amontillado" has been almost universally referred to as Poe's most perfect short story; in fact, it has often been considered to be one of the world's most perfect short stories.