The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allan Poe is the author of plenty of marvelous detective stories and novels. He wrote the short story “The Cask of Amontillado” in 1846. It is not a typical detective story because there is no investigation. The murderer tells about the crime. The mystery is the motive why he has done this.
The story is told from the point of view of the first person. The cruel murderer explains how he does it. Considering the cultural perspectives from which this short story was written, it makes sense to mention the behavior and values of the main character. He speaks very calmly and retells it like a casual story without no regret or sympathy. Perhaps, the reason of the revenge was the same awful as the acts of the Montresor. The injuries, which Montresor had borne because of Fortunato, should have been the horrible things, if they push the “victim” not to value a human life; moreover, to take it in such a cruel way.
In the other case, he is just a cruel mad man. However, it is a disputable question whether Montresor is mad because he has a perfect plan. He manipulates his servants, his friend Fortunato, and he stays cold-minded almost all the time of his crime, except a few moments when he stops and thinks. It is possible that he doubts or has mercy, but no. He finishes his dirty deal and walks away as he feels uncomfortable with the damp walls.
As a stylistic method, Poe uses irony. The whole situation is ironical. First of all, it is about the name Fortunato which means “luck”. Secondly, Montresor knows that Fortunato is an expert in wine. He also knows that the easiest way to lead him to the vaults is to ask him not to go because of the Fortunato’s health. His answer that he will not die of cough is the prediction. In addition to that, the motto “Nemo me impune lacessit” is the ironical hint.
The overall tone of the short story is terrifying and evil. The end of the story worries the most. What will happen with the poor Fortunato? It makes the hairs on the head rise, especially, when it becomes clear that it was the beginning of his painful death. There is no violence in the casual meaning of this word. Montresor does not even touch Fortunato. However, it is even more terrifying for the understanding.
Poe has a special feature of his works. He writes with a simple language. It is pleasant to read and easy to understand. He uses common words, and his style of writing is so natural as if he retells the story about his experience to his close friends.
The short story “The Cask of Amontillado” is an interesting piece of literature with its hidden features and unusual plot. It is clear and simple, but, on the other hand, it confuses the reader with its ending. The methods and the style of writing help the reader to understand what will happen in the end, but at the same time, Poe uses some little wiles to give the reader hope for the happy ending of the story.