Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is one of the great examples how dark human psyche can be…
Montresor’s twisted nature drives him to commit the murder and justify it by the THOUSAND injuries and insults that he supposedly suffered from Fortunato.
I can’t but wonder why the narrator doesn’t mention at least one of them? Could it be because he doesn’t want us to realize that his masterpiece punishment doesn’t fit the crime? Montresor’s vindictiveness goes beyond any justification. His brilliant mind makes me almost like him despite the fact that he ends up committing the vicious crime. He carefully plans the murder to the very last detail. Also, he possesses a great macabre humor which helps build suspense in the story and foreshadow evil in the future. For instance, when Montresor displays a false concern for his “friend’s” cough while roaming the vaults by saying: “Your health is precious…You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter.” In other words, he is alarming Fortunato about nitre that could exacerbate his cough. Meanwhile, he is taking him to the tomb.
In my opinion, Poe employs irony very effectively throughout the story. Starting with a very symbolic name of the character, Fortunato, to de Grave,the type of wine that he is offered by Montresor just minutes prior to his death. Poor Fortunato, he is anything but fortunate! If only he weren’t so vain and proud of his connoisseurship in wine! Intelligent Montresor applies reverse psychology on Fortunato every time he mentiones Luchesi knowing that he is his friend’s competitor.
Also, very carefully chosen the setting of the story contributes to the complete horror effect. Damp and dark vaults, and secluded catacombs help the reader visualize events and connect with the characters as well. While reading the story, I felt as if I had been hidden in one of the recesses in the Montresor’s palazzo observing the murder of Fortunato.