Edgar Allan Poe’s Description of the Topic of Vengeance as Illustrated in His Book, The Cask of Amontillado
Is revenge ever justified? Mankind believes in the necessity of revenge to make justice, by their own hands. The idea of revenge has been present in numerous novels, television shows, as well as movies and films. For instance in the movie Taken, the theme of revenge is clearly shown when a retired Gonverment Agent, Bryan, suffers the kidnapping of his daughter while on a trip to France and he wants to annhilate everyone involved in the disappearance, promissing to himself to take revenge for what they did to his daughter. Essentially, in “The Cask of Amontillado,” Poe presents the reader with Montressor, an egotistical maniac, who’s drive for revenge leads him to imprisoning and killing Fortunato, the man who supposedly insults Montressor, though to what extent is unknown. Poe uses peculiar word choice, sophisticated verbal irony, and the theme of revenge to convey an eerie and melodramatic mood which becomes one of the main elements in “The Cask of Amontillado.”
Helping create the mood, Poe uses dramatic and verbal irony to help extend the suspenseful and mysterious mood throughout the story. For instance, when Montressor and Fortunato meet and they want to go try some of the Amontillado, he refers to Fortunato by saying, “My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. (375)” Evidently the author is showing verbal irony because, clearly Montressor doesn’t care about Fortunato’s health, yet he refers to him as “friend.” The use of dramatic irony is implemented at the end of the story, Fortunato says to Montressor,” Will not [Lady Fortunato and the rest] be awaiting us at the palazzo? Let us be gone,”(379) and Montressor agrees to him by saying “Yes…let us be gone.(379)” Clearly, both of them say the same phrase, however the meaning is different. Fortunato wants to go home, with his wife, while Montressor wants him gone forever.Furthermore, the use of dramatic irony is present when Montressor tells himself that“I [continue]…to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation. (372)” Clearly, Fortunato did not expect anything sinister from his trustworthy friend. Moreover, the hint Montressor gives to the readers with his smile of immolation, the reader knows something nefarious is about to occur to Fortunato .Certainly, the use of irony contributes to the shaping of the mood throughout the story, as well as the congenial and intricate use of word choice.
The use of word choice is perspicuously seen in “The Cask of Amontillado,” to create suspenseful mood, and have an unpredictable idea of the story. Poe carefully chooses words that convey a strong sense of place to reader and contribute to the creation of tension. For example, even though a carnival setting is expected to be joyful and exuberant, Poe saddens the tone of the setting by stating to the reader that, “It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season (372).” The setting was greatly changed, because of the unique use of word choice, that is enough can give the story a completely different twist. Consequently, the repetition of words builds up the tension of the story. Another great example of word choice can be perceived when they are at the catacombs and Poe says, “A succession of loud and shrill screams, [burst] suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back.(379)” The word choice applied in the descriptive passages such as these, help the reader feel the chilly mood and what the characters sense. Toward the end the use of repetition of words can clearly be seen how it contributes to the mood. For example, the tension starts building up at Fortunato’s final moments, when Fortunato says, “For the love of God, Montressor… Yes, for the love of God.” Assuredly, this repetition of words creates an austere sense to the reader, and contributes with one of the most important aspects in this short story, the mood.
A great factor that determines the gothic and suspenseful mood of the story is the theme employed by Poe. “The Cask of Amontillado” shares the theme of revenge, and its a component of the mood built throughout the story. For example, “The thousands injuries of Fortunato I had Borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.(372)” The theme of revenge clearly can be felt, and plays a key role in the mood of the story. Due to the revenge, the mood is eerie, creepy, with a sense of sinister. Another great example is shown, “At length, I [will] be avenged; this was a point definitively settled.” Assuredly, the mood is not only eerie, but mysterious as well. Montressor is seeking for revenge, but the reader does not know why he is seeking for revenge, greatly contributing with the mood.
The use of sumptous word choice, and astounding verbal irony, tied togeher with the theme convey an eerie and melodramatic mood which becomes one of the main elements in “The Cask of Amontillado.” Furthermore, he demonstrates that verbal irony, as well as the strenuous word choice, and the theme of revenge contribute to the creation of the mood in the story.
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