Madness In The Cask Of Amontillado Analysis

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Madness within ‘A Cask of Amontillado’ The belief that madness is linked with creative thinking has been held since ancient times. In fact, Plato once stated “creativity is a divine madness…a gift from the gods” (Maureen). Understanding this connection allows us to perceive how many writers, such as Anne Sexton and Edgar Alan Poe, use their literature to lead them “by the hand out of madness” (Maureen). Poe’s life, for example, was riddled with loss and suffering: being raised in multiple orphanages and the losing so many loved ones is often said to be the reason for his questionable mental state. Within his writing the reader witnesses how his mental state heavily influences the theme of overall madness of his stories. In “The Cask of Amontillado”,…show more content…
The first indication of his madness is seen in his emotional instability; specifically, the “result of inappropriate emotional responses” (Demian). For Montresor this is seen in his immediate need for revenge. When he states, “but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge”, Montresor reveals how his prideful nature leads to an inappropriate emotional response to the situation (Poe 236). Consequently, it is argued that a sane minded individual wouldn’t have sought retribution for such a menial occurrence. Additional evidence of Montresor’s madness Is given when the men refer to his house motto and coat of arms. Montresor’s house motto, “Nemo me impune lacessit”, means to punish with impunity, and it is immediately evident that he takes this motto literally. The fact that he plans to punish Fortunato without being caught reveals that he doesn’t plan to let Fortunato leave the vaults. Likewise, Montresor’s coat of arms seems quite appropriate relative to what is happening in the story: “A huge human foot d’or in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel” is analogous to Montresor, the foot, crushing Fortunato, the serpent (Poe 238). Taking his motto, a few voiceless words, as law is quite an insane idea, and characterizes Montresor as a madman. Lastly, an overall madness is seen in Montresor’s creative nature. It is often expected that people…show more content…
Madness can be seen as the act of extremely foolish behavior, or the “inversion of standard norms of public conduct, and Fortunato is the very embodiment of these ideals. Initial evidence is seen through his use of foolish, or jester-like, attire during the festivities. Upon meeting Fortunato, Montresor describes him as wearing “motley”, and proceeds to describe the foolish “tight-fitting part striped dress” and “conical cap and bells”: These descriptions preemptively characterize Fortunato as a Foolish person. Further evidence of Fortunato’s madness is developed in his overall foolish behavior. The first example of Fortunato’s foolishness is his decision to accompany Montresor to the catacombs; it is quite foolish for him to impose, because the nitre within the catacombs could affect his already questionable health. He continues this foolish behavior even after Montresor implores him to leave, and again loses his opportunity to escape death. Finally, his madness is seen in his “distorted perceptions and beliefs”. After being captured, Fortunato shows signs of a distorted perception, and seems to believe his imprisonment is only “an excellent jest” (Poe 240). This however is not the case, and he is unable to fully rationalize the situation he is in. Ultimately his foolishness and lack of rational is what leads
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