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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: A Critical Analysis of Poe’s Use of Humor in the “Cask of Amontillado” Poe writes predominantly in the gothic genre, and “the Cask of Amontillado" is certainly a serious chilling tale of murder. However, Poe uses small doses of humor and word-play throughout the story…
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Download file to see previous pages... Indeed, the humors lie in the verbal ironies in the story. At the very beginning of the story, the readers learn about the revenge motif of Montressor (Silverman 312). So, when, in the story, they come across the verbal ironies in Montressor’s narration, they rather become aware of the follies, simplicity and hubris, of Fortunato, which inevitably push him towards the horrible death. Also the humors in the story are endowed with a two-fold meaning. On one hand, they provide brutal pleasure to Montressor; on the other hand, they reveal Fortunato’s follies and hubris. Montressor exhibits a black sense of humor. In the very beginning of the story, Montressor describes Fortunato in a jester’s outfit. He describes Fortunato as following: “[In] one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend….The man wore motley” (Poe pars.2). In that carnival evening, Fortunato wear a “tight-fitting parti-striped dress” (Poe pars.2). He also wears a “canonical cap and bells” (Poe pars.3). ...
But when Montressor vows that “I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong” (Poe pars.3), Fortunato’s jester-like clothing and hubris make him more vulnerable and pathetic. Another humor occurs around the middle of the story. When Montressor and Fortunato enter into the cavern, he (Fortunato) begins to cough. In order to hide his intention, Montressor tries to persuade Fortunato to go back: “We will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back” (Poe pars.6). In reply, Fortunato says, “Enough…the cough's a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.” (Poe pars.8) Here though his reply evokes laughter, it, at the same time, warns the readers about his helplessness in the face of Montressor conspiracy. Fortunato, a helpless drunkard who does not know the least of Montressor’s revenge, expresses habitual hubris that he will not die of coughing. This scene makes Montressor more pernicious and venomous, whereas this same reply exposes Fortunato more as a helpless man who simply believes Montressor and who is going to face his death soon (Silverman 312). At the second reading of the story, the perception that Fortunato is going to be buried alive behind the vault wall reveals the darkness and blackness of Montressor’s sense of humor. The blackest humorous scene occurs around the end of the story. Here, Fortunato starts to laugh after ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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