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Edgar Allan Poe is one of greatest American authors and poets. He is well-known as a master of using irony in his story. “The Cask of Amontillado” is a horror story about revenge of Montresor upon Fortunato. Fortunato believes Montresor is his good friend, but he ends up with being chained and walled in to the catacombs. There are three types of irony used in this short story: verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony. Using these ironies, Poe wants the readers to understand about Montresor’s “friendship” with Fortunato.
In the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, Poe uses two types of irony, dramatic and verbal. Dramatic irony is when the reader perceives something that a character in the story does not. Poe uses this type of irony in the character Fortunato. Verbal irony is when the character says one thing and means something else. This type of irony can be recognized in the statements that the characters, Fortunato and Montresor, say to one another.
The way to analyze a story by Poe—and possibly to analyze any modern short story, since Poe is credited with being the father of the genre—is by starting at the very end with a consideration of the story's "single effect." A single effect is not necessarily a simple effect. The complex effect of "The Cask of Amontillado" is not easy to describe, although most readers probably experience it in a similar way. Since Montresor interprets and relishes his victim's feelings, the preconceived effect might be described as a combination of shock, horror, pity, delight, satisfaction, compassion, and closure.
"The Cask of Amontillado" and the Single Effect
Adhering to his rationale, Poe combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. For example, Montresor lures Fortunato underground with a cask of Amontillado. It would have to be an imported wine to tempt Fortunato, since excellent domestic wine would be readily available to a wealthy Italian. Both men refer to the cask as a "pipe." It would not have seemed unreasonable to Fortunato that he should have to accompany his host a considerable distance to reach a space large enough for a cask containing 126 gallons of wine.
The Cask of Amontillado - Wikipedia
It deals with the subjects of secrets, madness, darkness and death. This gothic style of writing is greatly influenced by disappointment and depression that followed Poe his entire life. This was caused by a number of unfortunate events in his life, including the untimely death of his birth mother and foster mother, a lifetime of poverty, and his foster father, John Allan, who disowned Poe over an argument about family matters. This argument with John Allen shows a possible reason for Montresor’s plot to murder Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado. Montresor kills him due to his highly esteemed value of family honor.
The Poe Decoder - "The Cask of Amontillado"
Our main character in “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montresor can be construed as a generally insane person or super evil mastermind. It is my understanding that he does not have justification for the deeds and the murder he is going to commit. How can he do this and not have a guilty conscience? How he can he feel nothing? Because he is a man with no remorse, no feelings, no guilt, he either ignores or lacks that little voice that tells someone that “what you’re doing is wrong”. He feels he has suffered at the taunting of Fortunato and his revenge is legitimate.