Cask of Amontillado character analysis

Posted: September 3rd, 2013




Cask of Amontillado character analysis

The Cask of Amontillado is a short story written by Edgar Allen Poe that was first published in the issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book in November 1846. The book is a narration of a murder, which was committed fifty years ago and was never discovered. The narrator, who is the murderer, describes how he tricked his friend with the intention of killing him to avenge for an insult that he had received from the victim. The narrator starts by saying that no one who knew him would have considered his vow to seek revenge a threat. The narrator uses his friend’s weakness for love of fine wine to trick him back to his palazzo to test his acquired amontillado vintage wine. Once they reach there, the narrator takes his friend below his palazzo through the rooms his ancestors are buried to a small crypt (Poe pg 283). He chains his friend to the wall of the crypt and seals the entrance using stones and mortar aided by a trowel. In spite of the victims cries and attempts to free himself he continues to seal the crypt burying him alive and leaves him there. The story has several characters, one of which is discussed in this essay.

Montresor who is the narrator of the story and the murderer, is a tall and strong person. He manages to chain Fortunato his friend to the chains on the crypt’s walls single handedly and seals the crypt with building stone and mortar up to the twelfth tier. Moreover, in the story he says that when the tier had reached the seventh tier the wall was almost to the level of his breast indicating that he is a tall man. In addition, Fortunato leans on him several times, as they walk through the catacombs. Montresor is a character who is driven by bitterness, resentment and wounded pride to seek revenge on Fortunato, who has constantly hurt him and finally insulted him. Montresor is a man who lives with a lot of anguish that is caused by Fortunato’s constant injuries on him, which he bores as best as he could. However, when Fortunato insults him, he decides that he has crossed the line; he cannot tolerate him anymore and sets out to revenge. Montresor comes from a wealthy family that owns a palace since he buys vintage wine in bulk whenever he can. In addition, he has servants who attend to him. He lives alone with the servants and is a lonely unhappy man as he tells Fortunato that if he were to die no one would miss him.

Montresor makes two significant statements. He agrees with Fortunato that he will not die from the cough since he knew he was going to murder him. The second statement is when he tells Fortunato that he is loved, respected, rich, admired and happy as he once was indicating that he had experienced misfortune in his life. Montresor speaks in a wolfish way since he speaks like a friend to Fortunato yet he resents him and wants to murder him. Montresor is an intelligent thinker who takes advantage of the carnival celebration to plot Fortunato’s murder. In addition, he uses Fortunato’s weakness to lure him to his house and cunningly tells his servants not to leave the house because he knows that immediately he goes out they will go to the carnival celebrations. Montresor is motivated by revenge to commit murder on the hurt he feels due to Fortunato’s constant injuries that have left him wounded. People who know Montresor think that he is a gentle harmless person who poses no threat to anyone. They do not think he is capable of committing murder as a means of revenge. Montresor significantly carries out the murder without raising suspicion and keeps it a secret for fifty years.

The story illustrates how resentment and bitterness can drive a harmless person to commit murder as a means of revenge. The story shows how arrogance of the rich towards people due to their status in society causes people to resent them yet hide it from them. Therefore, it is important to be humble and recognize who ones friends are. In addition, a person’s weakness can lead him or her into trouble since it interferes with their correct judgment. The story illustrates that people are not what they necessarily portray themselves to be in public.


Work cited

Poe, Edgar A, and Wilbur S. Scott. The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Edison, N.J: Castle Books, 2002. Print.

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