The Setting in The Cask of Amontillado

             The Setting in "The Cask of Amontillado"
             In the story “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe, a maddened narrator, Montresor, plans to get revenge on a friend, Fortunato, for some unexplained injustice. The readers learn that Montresor lures him into the catacombs to try a cask of amontillado and then seals him away to die there. This plot, though relatively straightforward, leads the readers into an experience of horror. The story’s setting contributes greatly to the increasing atmosphere of horror, as Poe’s treatments of time and place cause the readers to predict, to fear, and tremble in the unfolding action.
             The physical time in “The Cask of Amontillado” produces an element of tension and foreboding to the story. The selection of the time and place also played a significant role in the story. The festival gives Montresor an excellent opportunity not only to appear in disguise, but to locate his inebriated companion and lure him into his deadly lair. According to Womack, Poe introduces us to a familiar carnival atmosphere of indulgence that one can today associate with Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Carnival is the time of celebration and happiness for everybody and for Fortunato to enjoy the pleasures of the season with his wife and friends, but, in the tale, it is a time for revenge and death because “[b]y the end, Fortunato is in precisely the opposite of a carnival atmosphere” (Reynolds 105). Montresor informs the readers that when he first encounters Fortunato, with revenge on his mind, it is “about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season” (Poe 217). As the readers are already informed that Montresor plans for revenge against his friend, the setting of dusk creates the sense of darkness, and all of the fears that may follow. The other suggestion that this is a season of “supreme madness” (Poe 217) evokes the atmosphere of uncertainty and suspense. Womack further indica...

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The Setting in The Cask of Amontillado. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:17, January 22, 2017, from