Fortunato has a similar relationship with Luchesi, who is only named but does not appear in the story. Fortunato obviously has little respect for Montresor's taste. Montresor politely says that since Fortunato is busy, he will ask Luchesi if the answer; How does the relationship shift between Montresor and Fortunato?. At first glance, Fortunato seems easier to identify with than Montresor. It's much simpler to relate to the victim than to the victimizer. But, in some ways, he seems.
Depending on the situation of each person in that era, it would have, or would not have been, a good idea to travel to California for gold.
An Analysis of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado'
Therefore, one could conclude that rushing to California on a whim is an irrational decision, and is not thought out to the fullest extent that it should be. Trust is an issue in this story. Fortunato, whom had been insulting and offending Montresor to the highest degree, decides to foolishly trust him and accept his offer to go to his house and drink with him. This action of Fortunato, to me, seems absurd.
If it were I that insulted a man and then was invited to his home to drink together, "[we] to your long life," I would not trust him. Fortunato trusts Montresor enough to drink past a healthy drunkenness and to walk the dark halls of his house with him.
The one object that places the biggest role in the control and direction of the story is the alcohol. Another fact is that Montresor seems very hospitable. He willing gives his prized wine to Fortunato to drink. Fortunato willing accepts, for he cannot resist a free drink. Buy Now The horror of being buried alive is a fear that nearly everyone has thought about at one time or another.
It is the fear of this burial that Edgar Allan Plays on. Instead of making the burial a quick and short-lived scene, Poe makes this scene exceedingly long and draws out the elements of fear. He procrastinates the burial of Fortunato by first describing how he is shackled to the wall. In an instant, he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite.
In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it.
He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess. The word choice and style of writing just pull the reader in, and consumes the reader in vivid imagery and rich, detailed descriptions. This story, even years after it was published, is still very popular. It allows the reader to envision the gruesome death of being buried alive. It fulfills the human desire to know about the unknown. It fulfills human curiosity; at least the curiosity to know what it would be like to be buried alive.
Again, Poe makes the burial a long and drawn out process. He draws the burial out over several paragraphs. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick--on account of the dampness of the catacombs.
I hastened to make an end of my labor. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. This story very much has a tone of death. Obviously, in the end, Fortunato dies. But it can also be said that Montresor dies too. He goes as far as to kill someone in such a way that he did; his mind is obviously corrupt.
For there are many ways to solve a disagreement, murder is not a good way to do it. Edgar and his sister and brother were left penniless, and Edgar was taken in by a Virginia merchant, John Allan, whose last name Edgar took as his middle name. Poe lived with the Allans in England from to and attended school there. His relationship with Allan was strained, because Allan was rather heartless and unsympathetic to his wife and foster son.
When Poe began studies at the University of Virginiathe wealthy Allan refused to help support him, and Poe turned to gambling, with little success. After a short time at the University, Poe moved to Boston and began his career as a writer. In he published his first volume of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, at his own expense, but found few readers. These early poems were heavily influenced by the Romantic poets. He soon lost the job because of his drinking.
Shortly afterwards, inhe married his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was thirteen years old. During the eleven years of his marriage to Virginia, Poe had a series of publishing successes and personal failures. He moved his family to New York and Philadelphia and back again, editing and contributing to various magazines.
His brilliance as a writer was now firmly established. Still, he could not escape his addiction to alcohol. Inafter losing a series of editorships, Poe retreated with his wife to a cottage in Fordham, outside New York City, where they nearly starved. He wrote several important pieces during this time, but though he tried again to give up drinking, he never succeeded.
He died in Baltimore on October 7,at the age of forty, after an alcoholic episode. Furthermore, he is determined not to act in secrecy, for Fortunato must know that his pain is handed to him by Montresor.
Fortunato has no idea that Montresor is angry with him—Montresor has given no hint of it. Montresor asks Fortunato to come with him and sample a large cask of Amontillado, a type of wine, which Montresor has just purchased.
Fortunato is justifiably proud of his ability to recognize good wines, and he is already drunk. He is easily persuaded to follow his friend, especially when Montresor assures him that if Fortunato cannot sample the wine for him, another man, Luchesi, will surely do it.
Conveniently, the servants are away enjoying the carnival, and no one sees them enter. They descend a long, winding staircase to the wine cellar and catacombs, the dark and damp tunnels and caverns beneath the palazzo where generations of Montresors have been laid to rest. As they walk on, they pass piles of bones and piles of wine casks, intermingled in the passageways. As they walk along, the men converse in an idle way, about the potentially hazardous nitre forming on the walls, and the coat of arms of the Montresor family.
To protect Fortunato from the damp, Montresor gives him drinks of two wines that are stored in the catacombs. When Fortunato reveals himself to be a member of the Masons, Montresor pulls a trowel from beneath his cape and declares that he, too, is a mason. Always Fortunato is pulled forward by the promise of the Amontillado. Eventually they reach the last chamber, a crypt nearly full of piled bones with only a small alcove of empty space within. When Fortunato steps to the back to look for the Amontillado, Montresor quickly chains him to two iron staples fastened to the wall.
He uncovers a pile of building stones concealed beneath some of the bones and begins to build a wall, sealing Fortunato in. As Fortunato recovers from his drunkenness and becomes aware of what is happening to him, he cries out for mercy, but Montresor pays no attention. He still refuses to speak of the offenses that have brought him to the point of murder, and Fortunato does not ask why Montresor is ready to kill him.
Montresor finishes his wall and piles bones up against it, leaving Fortunato to die. In the last lines, Montresor the actor is replaced again by Montresor the narrator, who began the story.
Now he reveals that the murder happened fifty years before. Fortunato, a respected and feared man, is a proud connoisseur of fine wine, and, at least on the night of the story, he clouds his senses and judgment by drinking too much of it. He allows himself to be led further and further into the catacombs by Montresor, stepping past piles of bones with no suspicion.
He is urged on by the chance of sampling some rare Amontillado, and by his unwillingness to let a rival, Luchesi, have the pleasure of sampling it first. The set is published by Listening Library. The story has also been captured many times on film and videotape. He never appears in the story, but Montresor keeps Fortunato on the trail of the Amontillado by threatening to allow Luchesi to sample it first if Fortunato is not interested. He speaks eloquently and easily drops Latin and French phrases into his speech.
An Analysis of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado' | Owlcation
He has been nursing a grudge against his friend Fortunato, who has committed several unnamed offenses against him, and has been coldly planning his revenge. Meeting Fortunato in the street one evening, Montresor takes this opportunity to lure his friend into the deepest catacombs beneath his palazzo, and there he chains Fortunato to the wall of a small alcove, seals him in behind a new brick wall which he builds even as Fortunato begs for mercy, and leaves him to die.
Even as he tells the story fifty years later, he reveals no regret for his actions, and no real pleasure in them. Themes Revenge The force that drives Montresor to commit the horrible murder of Fortunato is his powerful desire for revenge.
His first words in the story speak of it: As countless critics have pointed out, the nature of the injuries and offenses is never revealed. The focus, therefore, is not on the reason for revenge, but on the revenge itself, not on why Montresor behaves as he does but only on what he does. Just as Montresor does not reveal his motive for the crime, other than to identify it as a crime of revenge, neither does he share with his audience his response when the deed is done.
Does Montresor feel better once Fortunato has paid for his insult? Does he feel vindicated? He does not say. Nineteenth-century audiences scanned the story for hints of negative feelings. Is Montresor sorry for committing murder? Does he regret his actions? As he nears the end of his life does he look to God for forgiveness? Again, there is no hint or perhaps only the barest of hints.
He does not explore the events leading up to the crime, nor the results of the crime, but focuses the story narrowly on the act of revenge itself. While the time between their chance meeting and the laying of the last stone would have taken only five or six hours, the fifty years following are perhaps more intriguing. What has happened to Montresor over the intervening years, and why is he telling the story now? Is he hoping for forgiveness? For forgiveness to occur, there must first be guilt and then atonement or remorse.
Atonement, if there is to be any, must be with God alone. How were Masons perceived in the United States during the nineteenth century? Why might Poe have chosen to make Fortunato a member? What is nitre also known as potassium nitrate or saltpeter?
How would it form on the walls of the catacombs? Why might it be harmful? Research the field of heraldry, the medieval system of assigning and describing symbols displayed on a shield to identify families. Fortunato has been enjoying the carnival, and is dressed in motley. Montresor wears a silk mask and a roquelaire. Surely he does not mean that he is acting for the love of God; instead, he is blatantly and defiantly rejecting it. In other ways Poe keeps the idea of the Christian God in the foreground.
Fortunato is chained to the wall in a standing position that some critics have compared to the posture of the crucified Jesus. Was Montresor ever sorry for what he did? Poe does not appear interested in answering the question, although he surely knew that he was raising it, and knew that he had placed the answer tantalizingly out of reach. He tells the story from beginning to end with no diversion, no explanation, and no emotion.
If he is gleeful at gaining his revenge, or if he feels guilty about his crime, he does not speak of it directly, and his language does not reveal it. Even at the most terrifying moment in the story, when Fortunato realizes that Montresor intends to seal him up behind a wall, the narrator is calm and detached: The earliest indication I had of this was a low mourning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man.
There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth. Montresor is in control, deciding what to tell and what to leave out. A third-person narrator, even a limited narrator who could not see into the minds and hearts of the characters, would have presented a more balanced story. An objective narrator telling a terrible story objectively might be frightening, but even more frightening is a man telling without emotion the story of his own terrible crime.
To bring touches of the exotic to his murky atmosphere, Poe freely combines elements of different nations and cultures. Fortunato and Luchesi are Italians, knowledgeable about Italian wines. Montresor, as argued convincingly by Richard Benton and others, is a Frenchman. Amontillado is a Spanish wine. Scholars tracing the family name of Montresor and the history of laws governing the Mardi Gras carnivals in France have placed the date of the murder more precisely; John Randall III and others believe the murder occurs inwhile Benton argues for Gothic stories are typically set in medieval castles and feature mystery, horror, violence, ghosts, clanking chains, long underground passages, and dark chambers.
The overall atmosphere of brooding and horror also come from this tradition.
Final Exam Review How is the poem “Moco Limping” related to the poem “My Mistress’ Eyes?”
Some elements of the Gothic, however, Poe intentionally avoided: The agencies introduced must belong to real life. Poe uses Gothic conventions to create an atmosphere of terror, but then subverts the convention by using only human agents for terrible deeds.
For Poe, it is not supernatural beings that people should fear; the real horror lies in what human beings themselves are capable of. Historical Context The Short Story Although there have been stories as long as there have been people to tell them, many critics trace the beginnings of the short story as a genre of written prose literature consciously developed as an art form to the nineteenth century. Previously in the West there had been great ages of epics memorized or extemporized orally, narrative poetry, drama, and the novel, but it was not until the early s that critics began to describe the short story as a specific art form with its own rules and structures.
In Europe, Honore de Balzac and others were already writing and theorizing about the new form. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design.
The United States was still a young country, and most American readers and writers looked to Europe for great books and great authors, as well as for literary forms and themes. Writers and publishers hoped that a national call for a national literature would create a stronger market for their products, which were being outsold by European imports.
Poe, although he had the same difficulty supporting himself through writing as his contemporaries, did not whole-heartedly embrace the movement. On the one hand, his published criticism and reviews railed against writers who wrote mere imitations of popular European writers. But neither did he approve of writing that was too patriotic, that offered cliched praise of the United States with little artistic merit.
He was also critical of those who praised inferior work simply because it was American. An Anti-Masonic political party is formed in the United States, intended to counterbalance the supposed political influence of the Free and Accepted Masons. It is the first important third party in United States history. With six million members but no central authority, the Free and Accepted Masons are found in nearly every English-speaking nation, including a large membership in the United States.
They are more widely known for social activities and for community service than for political activity. Poe, who did not graduate from college, is able to read Latin, French, German, Italian and Spanish, and expects his readers to have basic competence in Latin and French. Most American college graduates have taken two years or less of foreign language study.
Writers are concerned that Americans do not have the attention span required to read long works of fiction. Educators and parents complain that young people, raised with televisions and computers, do not like to read for long periods, but prefer to get their information in short, visual forms.
Still, he called upon American writers to use their imaginations to produce original and vital works. A year earlier, Poe had published a collection of Tales, which had been widely reviewed. In response to the two Griswold projects came a flurry of writing about Poe, much of it praising the writing but condemning the writer.
Typical was an unsigned review in the Edinburgh Review: Critics seemed unable to move beyond the general observation that Poe led a troubled life and wrote troubling stories. In the early third of the century, Poe was widely praised for his poetry, but Gothicism had fallen out of favor and his stories were dismissed by such writers as T. Richard Benton is among those who suggest that the story can be read as historical fiction, based on real historical figures and addressing social class issues of interest to nineteenth-century Americans.
Other critics at mid-century were concerned with exploring the significance of details in the story that readers might not be expected to understand without explanation. No judgmental forces are at work. Crime is neither a negative nor a positive act. Ghost Stories by American Women, collects twenty-two stories by well-known and long-forgotten writers including Zora Neale Hurston and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
A Biography strikes the best balance between the scholarly and the popular. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation. The story is filled with twins and opposites. As the two men walk along the damp passageway, Montresor offers Fortunato two bottles of wine: In a scene that calls to mind nothing so much as Harpo Marx, Montresor produces a trowel from beneath his cloak, a sign that he, too, is a mason but of a different, deadly variety.
As the story opens, the men seem more different than alike. Montresor is cold, calculating, sober in every sense of the word. Montresor continues his duplicity. He suggests that Luchesi could taste the wine instead of Fortunato, knowing that the suggestion will make Fortunato all the more eager to taste it himself.