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The Cask of Amontillado - Essay Example

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Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is a beautiful and twisted gothic tale of revenge, deceit, and murder. The narrator, a manipulative character, has vowed to redress the supposed insults and wrongs done to him by the victim, Fortunato…
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The Cask of Amontillado
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Download file to see previous pages The narrator aptly uses this weakness of Fortunato to lure him into his evil plot for revenge and retribution. Poe effectively illustrates the theme of confinement leading to death through the repeated use of wine, specifically Amontillado, symbolizing entrapment and doom.
The mention of wine in the very beginning of the story is symbolic of the narrator’s evil motives of enticing and trapping Fortunato. The narrator is keenly aware of the fact that Fortunato isn’t serious about anything except Italian vintages because “he pride[s] himself on his connoisseurship in wine” (Poe). He subtly lures Fortunato into his trap by arousing his curiosity and evoking his pride. For example, the narrator tells him that he has bought the full Amontillado without asking him first but will now consult Luchesi, Fortunato’s supposed competitor, about it. The half drunken Fortunato is immediately intrigued, setting the plot in motion and preparing the road to his own entrapment. After tantalizingly repeating the words Amontillado several times, Fortunato himself mentions going into the narrator’s vaults to taste the prized wine. His intoxicated mind further enraged by pride, is unwilling to recognize the deception and danger he is ensnaring himself in. The stage is now set for their journey underground, into the bowels of the Montresors’s tomb where death eventually awaits Fortunato.
Once they start traveling to the vaults, Poe again employs the use of wine to further illustrate the idea of confinement. As the two travel deeper into the tomb, the nitre “hang[ing] like moss upon the vaults” and the dampness rampage Fortunato with frequent coughs. Already confined in the dark passageway of the catacomb and dependent on the narrator to guide him, he resorts to drinking Medoc to alleviate the coughing. This not only helps to clear his throat but also increases his resolve to reach the Amontillado. Fortunato does not realize that such determination is actually leading him to trap himself further. For, each step he now takes is bringing him closer to his ultimate confinement and death. Also, as they travel, Poe repeatedly refers to Fortunato’s drunken eyes symbolizing not only his physical entrapment within the vault but also the intoxicating dullness and confinement of his mind. For example, Fortunato looks at the narrator “with two filmy orbs that distill the rheum of intoxication”. Again after going down a little more into the crypt, he asks for some more wine, this time gulping down the entire flagon of De Grave making “his eyes flash with a fierce light”. His mind has become senseless and trapped, only thinking of the cherished Amontillado lying somewhere in the recesses of the tomb drawing and luring him closer to his demise. Finally, as they arrive at the end of the crypt lined with human bones and succumbed in darkness, Fortuno’s desire for Amontillado results in his final entrapment and doom. Anyone in their right mind would take one look at the sight of death and decay and run from there, seeking the freshness of the air and life above. Poe meticulously describes the recess prepared by the narrator having a “depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven”. This image is nothing less than a grave. Even the flaming torch’s attempt to shine a light in to the darkness is feeble, but Fortunato persists forward, drawn by the thought of the Amontillado. As he sets his foot into the prepared tomb, Fortunato seals his fate and traps ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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