The story The Cask of Amontillado was written by Edgar Allen Poe. The time period the story takes place is after people have died, but before bodies are buried. The setting is an underground crypt. The main character is Montresor and the secondary character is The man in The Cask of Amontillado. The mood is dark and ominous, but not scary. The theme is revenge and consequences. The tone in The Cask of Amontillado is serious and grim.
The point of view in “The Cask of Amontillado” is from the main character Montresor’s perspective because it takes place after people have died, but before they are buried, meaning that Montresor has to find someone who isn’t dead yet to kill him or her with a brick wall. The descriptive details in “The Cask of Amontillado” The setting for this story was an underground crypt where dead bodies were thrown away after being killed by either suffocation or bricks.
The main character Montresor is a man whose life has been turned upside down from being betrayed by The man in The Cask of Amontillado, so he decides to seek revenge against The man for his betrayal. The mood was dark and ominous with a serious tone because the story took place after people have died but before they were buried, meaning that Montresor had to find someone who wasn’t dead yet to kill them with bricks.
“ The Cask of Amontillado ” by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story that tells of the main character, Montresor, seeking revenge on his friend Fortunato due to a number of slights that have been made against him. The story takes place in an underground catacomb and is told from the first person point-of-view. The action and dialogue drive the plot forward throughout the story which is written as a confession, or admission of guilt for having committed murder (OED), and each paragraph progressively reveals more details about who Montresor is and what he has done.
The descriptive details used by Poe make up this confession and account for why Montresor killed his friend Fortunato; they give the reader an idea about what kind of person Montresor is, why he chose to kill Fortunato in such a way, and how the murder occurred. The use of descriptive details in this story gives insight into who Montresor is as a character, his motives for choosing to seek revenge on Fortunato, and what happened during the murder of his friend. Descriptive details are characteristics of people or things that give specific examples of their qualities. The word “describe” means “to draw or paint” (OED).
People can use descriptive details to paint pictures by using words that appeal to the senses which include sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch (OED The more detailed something is the better it is described. The descriptive details used by Edgar Allan Poe are what make up this story’s plot and help further the action of the story along. The first two paragraphs of The Cask of Amontillado begin with Montresor describing where he is at during the time that he tells his story: “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe).
The use of descriptive detail in these two sentences that introduce this short story gives insight into how Montresor feels about Fortunato at this point in time. The reader learns immediately why Montresor chooses to seek revenge on his friend; they learn how serious Montresor is about getting revenge, and how he has not done so already because Fortunato’s insults were only just recently made. The reader also gets an idea of who Montresor is as a character; they learn that he is patient and holds grudges for a long time, and that when pushed too far, he will seek violent revenge.
The vividness of the imagery in the story allows the reader to not only imagine themselves watching the action, but also adds suspense, humor, and irony. The narrator describes how he is “tethered” by his wife Fortunato (Poe 629), which contributes to the dynamic between both characters in a way that can appeal to both senses of humor and visual appeal. The descriptive details in Poe’s tale are essential because they cause the audience to not only visualize what is happening, but also become more involved.
The techniques used in “The Cask of Amontillado” cause readers to recall memories that are important for them, similar to how Montressor remembers details fifty years later. The auditory appeal, humor appeal, and visual appeal all work alongside one another to create a story that is both interesting for the audience members, as well as easily remembered. The opening line of “The Cask of Amontillado” gives the reader an image in their mind of what they are about to read (Poe 630).
The description immediately begins with the use of imagery; instead of starting at the beginning of Montressor’s story, Poe uses vivid detail to help his audience figure out where they are through how he describes his surroundings (Fagin 202). The way that Poe describes how it “appeared full of an odd mixture of smoke and iodoform” makes the reader not only imagine the image in their head, but also causes them to recall memories that are important for them (Poe 630). The reader is able to immediately tell that the narrator is recalling details over fifty years later because of how detailed they are.
The fact that Montressor recalls this image of iodoform smelling, smoke filled air makes it clear that he has not forgotten anything. The way Poe uses imagery to begin by letting his audience know where he is allows for him to easily transition into the captivating tale of revenge; instead of wasting time describing what happened before the action began, Poe uses vivid detail to make his story come alive (Fagin 202). The auditory sense appeals to the audience’s sense of hearing through the words and the tone of the speaker in The Cask of Amontillado.
The narrator’s voice in The Cask of Amontillado is dark and filled with hate, which is in stark contrast to the way that Fortunato speaks (Poe 631). The difference between how both characters speak helps show their difference in class; Fortunato speaks too loud and without care, compared to Montressor who speaks quietly, effortlessly, and with much more control (Fagin 204). The use of figurative language such as metaphor makes it easier for readers “to recreate emotions only imagined or experienced by [themselves] through another’s point of view… his process allows [their] imagination to become active in the construction of meaning” (Fagin 204).
The use of metaphor is important in The Cask of Amontillado because it makes Montressor’s voice stronger. The character is able to convey his hate for Fortunato clearly through how he speaks, which helps make up for him having no physical power over his target. The tone in The Cask of Amontillado causes readers to be wary and nervous about impending doom, while also lightening the mood in parts where they feel that Montressor has let his guard down even though he really hasn’t (Poe 631-632).
The auditory appeal can cause readers to recall memories from their past that are connected with specific sounds; when Montressor comes upon the wine he is seeking, it “gurgled richly as the pale yellow tide flowed smoothly into his glass” (Poe 630). The tone of Montressor’s voice also causes readers to recall memories; after Fortunato insults him by telling him that his wife is not beautiful enough for marriage, he speaks quietly and with a “languid motion of [his] hand” (Poe 631).