Montresor Irony

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Any fan of the medieval and Victorian eras knows that there are many stories centered around the rectification of lost or sullied honor through varying means of revenge. Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” is no exception. The story’s protagonist, Montresor, feels that his friend, Fortunato, has insulted his family’s honor and decides to take revenge during a nighttime carnival by luring Fortunato into the Montresor family crypt and sealing him inside to die a slow death. Through the use of irony and symbolism, Poe reveals to readers an intense theme of revenge.
Poe’s theme of revenge is illuminated through his application of the three different types of irony: dramatic, verbal, and situational. He starts off the story strong with dramatic
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His total obliviousness to the situation allows Montresor to take his revenge by easily manipulating Fortunato, starting when they meet at the carnival and lasting until Montresor chains Fortunato to the enclave’s wall (432). Poe introduces verbal irony through Montresor’s manipulative words, as the entire time Montresor is leading Fortunato down into the catacombs, he continuously badgers his drunken companion about the environment being bad for Fortunato’s health, even saying, “Your health is precious” (429). The voiced “concerns” qualify as verbal irony because the audience is already well aware that Montresor does not give a damn about Fortunato’s health and is only luring him into the catacombs to exact revenge. The third type of irony, situational, is not used by Poe until the end of the story when Montresor has almost completely sealed away Fortunato in the Montresor family tomb. When Fortunato stops yelling and making noise, Montresor immediately wants to know if he is still alive, so he drops “a torch through the remaining aperture….There came forth only in return a jingling of the bells” (432). This last jingling of Fortunato’s…show more content…
The first symbol, Montresor’s family seal/crest, is described by Montresor as “[a] huge human foot [of gold] in a field of azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel” (429). The foot symbolizes Fortunato and the insult Montresor believes Fortunato has brought upon the Montresor family honor. The snake represents Montresor as he “bites back” at Fortunato with his planned demise. A little while after, the next symbol is revealed following Fortunato making a gesture that is signature of the Order of the Free Masons with the wine bottle Montresor gave him at the beginning of their descent (429). Montresor decides to “prove” he is a mason too by “producing a trowel from beneath the folds of [his] roquelaire,” but instead of representing his status a member of the Free Masons, the trowel literally represents Montresor’s intent to use masonry to wall in Fortunato and guarantee his eventual death and Montresor’s successful revenge (430). The Montresor’s final symbol is the catacombs themselves, as they are integral as to how Montresor plans to avenge his family’s tarnished honor. The catacombs Montresor takes Fortunato down into are not only a cellar for Montresor’s wines, they also double as the Montresor family crypt. By trapping Fortunato among Montresor family ancestors, Montresor is making the implied statement, “If you insult my
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