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Critical Analysis of "The Cask of Amontillado"

Critical Analysis of "The Cask of Amontillado"


In "The Cask of Amontillado," Edgar Allan Poe uses several different artistic choices in the construction of the story. He manipulates the story to be the way he wants it to be by using the point of view of the narrator, the setting, and a common monotonous sentiment throughout. Poe is successful in maintaining a "spirit of perverseness" that is prevalent in most of his works.

The point of view plays a very important role in influencing the reader's perception of the story. The first line of the story is a good example of how the narrator attempts to bring the reader to his side right from the start. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge" (231). Montresor, the narrator of the story, immediately tries to win the reader to his side by telling him that Fortunato has "ventured upon insult," and apparently crossed over the line. This attempt is clever, but the reader never gets a sense of what Fortunato has actually done to the narrator. This fact alone raises the question in my mind as to whether Fortunato has really insulted Montresor, or whether Montresor is creating it in his own mind.

The point of view of the story can also affect the emotional attachment that the reader gets, or fails to get in this case, for a given character. When a reader is involved in a story, the point of view from where the story is being told is crucial to the feelings the reader has. In this story, Montresor dominates the progression of the story in every regard. In other words, the reader only knows what Montresor tells him, or what he can infer from the story. This being the case, it is difficult for the reader to develop any liking for another character unless Montresor describes him or him in a favorable way. Fortunato never stands a chance.

Montresor begins putting down Fortunato in the reader's mind with the first line of the story, "when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge" (231). Even his most prized skill, wine tasting, is described as "a weak point." This puts Fortunato at a major disadvantage in the fight for...

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