The Cask of Amontillado

Length: 2 Pages 546 Words

“The Cask of Amontillado” is one of Edgar Allen Poe’s finest works. His tale of horror involves Montressor, an Italian aristocrat who will stop at nothing to gain revenge upon Fortunato, an arrogant and conceited connoisseur of wine. Poe uses foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism to gain the reader’s interest and to set the suspenseful mood of the story. The first indication of irony is in Fortunato’s name itself. The name means a man of good fortune and hope, but as we see at the end of the story he “unfortunately” dies. The setting at the beginning of the story is ironic because Montressor and Fortunato meet in the middle of one of Venice’s carnivals. These carnivals are associated with feelings of joy and happiness and yet this story is dark and horrid. While walking in the catacombs, Mont Continue...


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A final example of irony is evident in the stonemason exchange where Fortunato is talking about the brotherhood of the stonemasons and Montressor is talking about being an actual labouring mason. The final example of foreshadowing is near the end when the catacombs are filled with old human remains. The word cask in the title is symbolic of Fortunato's demise because by the end of the story he will be entombed in a casket of stone. This is ironic because it is Montressor's skill in masonry that eventually kills Fortunato. ressor states that he will drink to Fortunato's long life, but we know that his life will not last much longer. All of those are great examples of symbolism, but quite possibly the best example of both symbolism and foreshadowing lies within the coat of arms of the Montressor family. The coat of arms pictures, "A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel. They add to the setting, the mood, and they enhance our image of both Montressor as a diabolical fiend and Fortunato as a fool. Although these are not the only literary devices which Poe used, they are the most relevant and the most obvious. The coat of arms foreshadows what Montressor will do to Fortunato for insulting the Montressor family name. 136) In this image the serpent symbolizes Fortunato and the foot symbolizes Montressor. This symbolizes that Montressor will make a fool out of Fortunato. Another example of symbolism evident in the story is the black mask and costume which Montressor wears. Symbolism is when something has a meaning that is not immediately apparent to the reader.

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