Sir Edger Allen Poe is most known for his profound impact in the gothic writing realms. His narratives typically stretch the reader’s level of comfort to reveal real injustice and horrors that plague society, which most would rather ignore…
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The distinction shown both literally and figuratively between these two aspects is typically called the gothic interior. The gothic interior, through careful attention to the setting, forces the reader to toggle between the feelings of being free and trapped, which in turn makes the reader more aware of these emotions. By taking an in-depth look at how the setting in, The Cask of Amontillado, including: the country, the carnival, the vaults, darkness, and the tomb: influence the main character’s attitude, decisions and behavior, and how it contributes to the story’s overall impact, the importance of the setting in gothic narratives becomes clear. The country in which The Cask of Amontillado takes place is Italy. This fact would typically not have a profound impact on the reader, unless they had some knowledge of the history of gothic narratives. Upon studying into the history of gothic narratives one would find that the first person to publish an explicitly gothic story, Horace Walpole did so in Otranto, Italy. The story he published, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story, portrays confinement in that one of the main characters is ultimately pinned beneath a giant gold helmet that falls from the sky. So the fact that Poe chose to also set his short story, The Cask of Amontillado, in Italy could be a nod to the accomplishments of Walpole, and perhaps impact that Walpole’s writings had on his own. The fact that the main character of the story is ultimately trapped, along with the fact that one of the main characters in, The Cask of Amontillado, is trapped also leads many experts to feel this location comparison of Italy was intentional. The event that is occurring during the time this story takes place, the carnival, also has a profound impact on the gothic interior, or setting, and ultimately the actions of the main character, Montresor. The carnival is a celebration, the day before lent, in which people partake of those things they will be fasting during lent. This is a representation of a time of freedom and celebration before a time of confinement. For Montresor it also represents a time of freedom before he is ultimately confined by his own actions and murderous decision. However the description, given by Montresor, of the carnival is very vague and rushed. He does not take time to describe much of what is going on, only enough to prove how foolish and indulgent his protagonist, Fortunado, is. Even during the carnival Montresor keeps thinking of the vaults, or impending confinement. At one point during their walk toward the catacombs he says, “The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with niter” (Poe).This shows how consumed he is with his hate of Fortunado and his plan to kill. He consumed to the point that he is unable to see the life, party, or wealth he has around him his sole focus was the damp, darkness that lay ahead. As with most hate filled, vengeful plans the depths of emotion and mental turmoil lay within the dark inner chambers of ones heart and soul. This is physically manifested in The Cask of Amontillado as the dark, damp, vaults Montresor and Fortunado descend into. As they enter the vaults the narrator, Montresor, gives detailed descriptions of the death and darkness that surrounded them. He does this both verbally and with his narrative. At one point he says, “
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The first is an allegory, and is almost like a fairytale in its shades of fantasy and imagery. It is totally cut off from the real world. It is entirely descriptive, and the action is stylized. Except for the protagonist, Prince Prospero, the other revelers are more in the nature of caricatures, with no separate identities.
In other words, the author has been highly effective in making use of the various elements of the story such as plot, setting, character, and narrative style to draw out the underlying themes of the story. In a comprehensive analysis of how the location of the story as well as the narrative style contributes to the overall story, it becomes lucid that style and setting of “The Cask of Amontillado” have made immense contribution to the plot and themes of the story and this paper focuses on an analysis of the role of setting to the entire story.
The story can be said to have a confessional character as the denouement reveals that it has been fifty years since Montresor has murdered Fortunato but has never been discovered. The killing of Fortunato however moves beyond the realm of ordinary murder and acquires the complex connotations of sacrifice and retribution.
According to the research findings, use of central narration indicates that the story revolves around the inner terror and the innate evil that exists in people. Use of first-person narration is related to the idea that telling the story from the victim’s perspective would not portray the memorable qualities to the readers’ attention.
This is how the character Montresor planned and succeeded with his plan on the unfortunate victim Fortunato in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Cask of Amontillado. Celebrated during or after Lent, the time setting of the story is ironic to slay a friend.
In fact Poe perhaps is the first great writer to deal with many of the issues of the unconscious, the subconscious, and the dark forces of the Id that were later exposed by such great writers as Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jules Verne in the 19th century, and such writers as Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Steven King, and Joyce Carol Oates, and the film maker David Cronenberg in the 20th century.
Poe contrasts this with the concept that family always leads to loss and the incapability of holding onto the family unit. The presentation that Poe gives about the family ultimately leads to the idea of loss and death of the family. The loss and death of the family is one that Poe describes not only with death, but also how this leads to bondage.
In “The Cask of Amontillado”, he advantageously uses these three themes in order to tell a disturbing tale of human jealousy, petty spite, and revenge.
The cask in itself becomes a central character in the
The story is of an intricate design, told by the use of a fanciful language and set in an underground Italian cemetery. Suffice to say, the Cask of Amontillado is a journey into the strange and sinister recesses of the human mind.
Montresor, who holds a grudge against
The author uses different forms of irony to create suspense, add a sense of macabre humor, and foreshadow the story’s ending (Cummings para.12). This discourse aims to highlight the how the writer uses irony to
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