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A tale of revenge in the cask of the amontillado

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Introduction The desire for revenge has always been a strong motive for the action of man. Battles have been fought and wars were waged because of one reason: A lot of stories are concerned with this mean instinct, and the american author Edgar Allan Poe often deals with this and other raw instincts.

Is his deed really a comlpete success and to which degree is Poe personally involved in this literary revenge? Probably his honour has been damaged by his companion. 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 as such to him who has done the wrong.

This means the act of revenge has to be unredressed. Second the person who gets punished has to know who punishes him. The avenger has to reveal himself. The first paragraph contains an additional idea of revenge.

Expert Answers

Montresor says that he would be avengedat length. He wants to plan his deed carefully. He really seems to enjoy the planning of the revenge. For him vengeance is not only an act of low instincts, but an intellectual challenge5.

Not only his words but also his action reveal his intentions. But the reader who knows about the evil plan realizes these indications. On page 1536 Montresor puts on a mask and draws his roquelaire closely about his person. By doing so he makes sure that nobody can see him together with Fortunato in the last night of his existance. At the bottom of the same side7 the two friends descend into the cavern. On page 154 Montresor says: Then Fortunato says about his bad cough: I shall not die of a cough.

The most obvious indication is at the bottom of page 15411. Here Fortunato asks his friend about the coat of arms of his family. He replies that it was a huge human foot that crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel. This picture is an allegory of the relation between the two friends and of the future of this friendship. The foot is a symbol for Montresor and the snake stands for Fortunato: Montresor will destroy his friend who has betrayed him like the snake in the bible has betrayad Adam and Eve.

The fact that the snake bites the foot shows that Fortunato has hurt his friend. This motto of the Montresors could also be the motto of the whole story. Another indication might be the name of the wine Montresor offers to his friend: Transferred into English this could mean: It indicates that these vaults are a tomb: The description of the final room in the vaults reveals its real character: At the end of the tale Fortunato gets immured by Montresor.

The revenge seems to be a complete success because Montresor has destroyed his enemy. Montresor says that the avenger has to be unpunished. But the fact that he tells this story shows that he still has to think about this.

The picture in the arms of the Montresors was a snake that gets crushed by a human foot. The snake is still able to bite the foot and the poison now is affecting the soul of Montresor for half a century.

On page 159 he says: He hastenes to finish the wall that covers Fortunato. But he has no real reason for this hurry. The true reason for his behaviour is his bad conscience. He wants to leave the place of his deed as fast as possible.

The last sentence of the tale is: He knows that he has gone too far.

Is the revenge of the story, "The Cask of Amontillado" acceptable?

The victim has to know who punishes him and he has to know why he punishes him. But Fortunato has got no idea why this happens to him. As he slowly awakes from his drunkenness and realizes that he gets immured by his companion, he thinks that it is nothing but a bad joke: It seems that something like this is quite natural for Fortunato.

In his stories he deals with his own feelings, problems or expieriences. At the peak of the dispute Poe sued them because of calumny. After Poe won the lawsuit both parties used more subtle weapons. Many allusions hint to the persons involved in the war and the dispute itself: This is a hint that the dispute between Poe and English was at hand for quite a while.

Here Poe makes fun of English by representing him as a fool. This description is meant both physically his look and psychologically his foolish mind. The real meaning reveals itself through the pronunciation: They supported each other in their attacks on Poe. As mentioned before, Fortunato gets immured by Montresor. Poe has often dealt with the living burial. Poe not only chooses this way of death for his victim because live burial was a popular topic in his sensation-loving time.

  1. This motto of the Montresors could also be the motto of the whole story. I shall not die of a cough.
  2. But he has no real reason for this hurry. Yale University Press, 1987 138 4 Poe,Tales151.
  3. Montresor says that he would be avengedat length.

Conclusion The tale of the cask of Amontillado contains several aspects of the theme revenge. The strongest viewpoint is without any doubt the personal involvement of the author.

His dispute with English and Fuller is the reason for the origin of this story. A second criterion is fullfilled, because for Poe the revenge was an intellectual act: In contrast to Montresor who has doubts after his deed, Poe is able to enjoy his written revenge because nobody has been physically hurt.

But like Montresor who perpetuates the cycle of vengeance before his deed, Poe heats up his own dispute with this story. Tales of Mystery and Imagination. The Franklin Library, 1987. Princeton University Press, 1973. University of Miami Press, 1973.

Poe,Death and the life of Writing.

Revenge in Edgan Allan Poe`s "The Cask of Amontillado"

Yale University Press, 1987. Mournfuf and Neverending Rememberance. Weidenfald and Nicolson, 1992. Yale University Press, 1987 138 4 Poe,Tales151.