Why did we choose this story?We choose this story because we like the horror aspect and especially the darkness of it all. After analyzing it in class and finding out all the symbolism and irony in it that we haven’t noticed, we liked it even more. The themes also made much more sense later on, so analyzing its themes was much more easier and fun to do. The Cask of Amontillado is a story about two ‘friends’ Fortunato and Montresor, who is also the narrator.After all the injuries Fortunato had inflicted upon his friend, Montresor had finally lost it when Fortunato insulted him. This infuriated Montresor and he swore he would take revenge. In the end Montresor buried his so called friend alive in a self made mausoleum. We really liked the personality of Montresor.
It is a character we have not encountered much when reading, that is why. His way of thinking and acting upon those thoughts was pretty dark and sinister, which really interested us. (Montresor walling up Fortunato.
Illustration by Arthur Rackham)Analysis of themesOne of the major themes is what first came up when we read this story, it is the betrayal of friendship and taking revenge. Montresor being friends with Fortunato for so long decides to take revenge and murder him because of a mere insult.”THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge”. (Edgar Allan Poe, 1846, p.
3)We never find out what the insult was, but it was offending enough for Montresor to decide to kill his friend. Montresor is having an external conflict with another person, you have the antagonist vs the protagonist situation in this story. Montresor lures his so called friend Fortunato into a crypt using the promise to taste a rare bottle of Amontillado as a bait. Fortunato gets intoxicated and passes out. Montresor then begins to chain him to a wall and starts building the stone wall, closing the small area and creating a mausoleum. Throughout the story we see what kind of man Fortunato is, he is quite the honest, jolly and naive fellow who seems to trust his friend and is not suspicious whatsoever.
It is when Fortunato sobers up, finding himself chained to the wall and realizing Montresor is not joking, that he begins to panic and realize the act of betrayal his friend has acted upon him. In the end it is Fortunato who has the last laugh as accepts his death and decides not to answer to Montresor’s screams only jiggling the bells of his jester costume. It is quite ironic, someone with a name that translates to fortunate (Molloy, 2017)having such an unfortunate and unhappy fate.A minor theme in this story is the relationship between freedom and confinement.
Although it is true that in the end Fortunato is physically confined, being buried alive in a home build mausoleum, he is in fact the one being freed. At first Fortunato takes all of it as a joke. Then in he realizes the act his ‘friend’ is commiting and screams at first, not ready to believe and accept his fate. “For the love of God, Montresor!” (Edgar Allan Poe, 1846, p.10).
When he decides not to answer to Montresor’s call, he in fact has the last laugh and refuses to give into Montresor’s enjoyment. Freeing himself. Waiting in vain for some sort of reply in the sudden silence has made Montresor impatient. His heart grew sick upon hearing the jingle of Fortunato’s jester hat. That has made quite an impact on Montresor.
In a way Fortunato freed himself by confining Montresor to think about the horrible thing he did to his friend for the next half decade. The last sentence of the story, “For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!”(Edgar Allan Poe, 1846, p.10), we can see that this is proof that he still thinks about Fortunato, whether it be because he feels guilty or mighty. Why else would he be telling this story about someone he hated.