Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Montresor, Crime, Murder, Literature, Criminal Justice, Victimology, Victim, Discrimination

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/04

A justifiable murder is no longer a fallacy according to Montresor, the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado.” His opening narration recounts his insatiable need and obligation to rectify an insult waged against him by the antagonist Fortunato fifty years prior. Montresor shrewdly preys upon Fortunato’s pride and arrogance as a wine aficionado and lures him into the catacombs in order to proffer his opinion on the Amontillado wine. Fortunato went in the hopes of tasting a high quality wine, but he ultimately meets in his premature demise after Montresor shackles him to the wall and then traps him by bricking him in. The reader is confounded about how and why Montresor committed such a horrific crime. Because of the absence of a clear-cut motive, the reader must become a detective and solve the mystery by working in reverse to figure out what contingencies and circumstances as described by the protagonist in order to ascertain the motive for such a nefarious and barbaric act. The story seemingly takes place as Montresor’s death draws near, which suggests that the murder has wracked his conscience for half a century. Through the narrator Montresor, Poe articulates an argument about how murder can be justified when a warped sense of morality and honor is at stake. The ambiguities surrounding Montresor’s behavior seemingly portray the protagonist as insane, and his lamentable confession underscores how the murder was a source of pride and glory for this puzzling speaker.
Montresor justifies this murderous act throughout this short story, yet the central question of “why did he do it” rather than the traditional question of “who did it” threads together this perplexing narrative. He asserts that “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.” Fortunato had offended him numerous times, but his final insult fueled Montresor to physically harm him. Montresor decided that revenge was the only conceivable recourse and avenue to exact justice. Montresor delves a little deeper into his rationale by boldly asserting: “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe). He clearly feels that the responsibility of being the redresser lies with him, which undergirds his plot to commit a perfect murder. Montresor seeks to achieve a sense of justice for Fortunato’s slander and heinous acts in order restore his family’s good name and reputation. Montresor’s philosophy for exacting revenge on another person unequivocally paints him as a dexterous, calculated, and cogent murderer.
Although Montresor seemingly confesses about the murder to order to alleviate his guilt, thereby suggesting that he felt a sense of empathy towards his victim, it is nonetheless unequivocal that Poe rhetorically grafted irony into this narrative in order to emphasize that Montresor was seemingly bragging about his deed against Fortunato, the victim whose name in itself is ironic. Indeed, the protagonist has not atoned for his past sins. At the beginning of Montresor’s confession, he states that “my heart grew sick—on account of the dampness of the catacombs” (Poe). The use of the dash suggests that he paused for a little bit after the first part of that phrase. While at first Montresor seems genuinely apologetic for harming Fortunato. However, after the pause, it seems as though the speaker is gloating about his crime while on his deathbed. As a result, Montresor’s rhetoric clearly limns him as inhumane because he never feels any remorse or guilt about the heinous murder.
Time and again, Montresor brags about the murder, which both strips him of his humanity while exposing his insanity. Montresor recalls how, after he had constructed the fourth tier of the catacomb’s masonry, he paused and moved to hear the “furious vibrations of the chain” as Fortunato writhed in pain (Poe). Furthermore, Montresor taunts Fortunado when he mimics his victim’s screams and even shrieks much louder than his victim did. The eerie part about Montresor’s account is that he is both rational and calm, never expressing any remorse or pity as he speaks in a dry, matter-of-fact, and blasé tone. As such, the reader feels a sense of horror and disgust by the time the story ends. Monstresor views the murder of Fortunato as a successful, viable, and justified act of punishment and retribution rather as a crime. In the middle of the story, Montresor declares that “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe). Poe unequivocally views insult and injury as starkly different entities. Although it is clear that the murder was fueled by insult rather than injury, Montresor never explicitly discusses the nature of the insult waged again him, which further confounds the reader. As a result, readers are never given the opportunity to fully and objectively judge whether or not the murder of Furtunato was warranted or not. In this light, the puzzling silence on the motive enables readers to attribute this act to insanity.
Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” tells the story about a nefarious protagonist who committed premeditated murder successfully and was never punished for his heinous actions. Montresor limns himself as an individual who had the prerogative and the right to condemn his victim to death. As such, he carefully planned a calculated murder scheme in order to carry out this justified execution. The question of why Montresor killed him is only vaguely alluded to, which heightens the mystery and horror of this story. Although Montresor recounts his actions in a very calm manner, the content that he describes and his actions depict him otherwise. His actions were irrational, which underscores his insanity.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 04) Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/
"Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example." WePapers, 04 Nov. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/. Accessed 16 April 2021.
WePapers. 2020. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example., viewed April 16 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/>
WePapers. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed April 16, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/
"Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example." WePapers, Nov 04, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/
WePapers. 2020. "Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved April 16, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/).
"Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 04-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/. [Accessed: 16-Apr-2021].
Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask Of Amontillado" Essays Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/edgar-allen-poes-the-cask-of-amontillado-essays-example/. Published Nov 04, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2021.
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