A Comparison Of Two Murderers Essay

1388 words - 6 pages

In the Edgar Allan Poe stories "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" the most prominent and important themes that are used are death, logic, and irony. The characters of the narrator and Montresor in these stories are both coldblooded murders that kill for selfish, and inane reasons who firmly believe that their actions are justified even though their rationalizations only make sense in their own minds. They both try to convince their audience that they are completely sane by giving their explanations about why they did what they did as well as their motives for killing their victims. In admitting how they murdered victims, who appear to be innocent to everyone besides them, they only succeed in proving their insanity. The narrator and Montresor are similar in that they both have impaired senses of judgment encouraged by perverse morals and are able to convince themselves that the horrible things that they do are justifiable.
The narrator murders the old man whom he is meant to be taking care of. He claims to have nothing against the old man and says that he loves him dearly. Regardless of this, he finds the man’s filmy, vulture-like eye to be disturbing and thinks this is a valid enough reason to kill him. Montresor feels that his colleague Fortunado has insulted him in some way and believes that it is now his duty to end his life. Both claim to not have anything against his victim other than one small detail, being either and eye or an insult, and feel that they are justified in wanting them dead. They both meticulously plan out what they are going to do to their victim long before they carry out their actions. Neither the old man nor Fortunado had any idea that their murderer had any reason to want them dead and had no way of anticipating what was going to happen to them. The narrator smothers the old man with his mattress, chops up his body, and stuffs him in the floorboards. Montresor leads a very drunk Fortunado into the catacombs, seals him in a wall, and leaves him to die. At first, neither feels any remorse and they are confident that they have successfully got away with murder. They both do manage to get away with it for a while but do eventually being to feel guilt for what they have done, although the narrator's is more obvious. Although, he is able to remain calm for most of his interogation, he ends up confessing to the police officers when he hears what he thinks to be the old man’s beating heart, although it is more likely that it was his own heart pounding because of his nerves. Montresor does not express as much guilt as the narrator for his crime and succeeds in holding all of his guilt in until he confesses on his deathbed, possibly to a priest, when he feels safe and does not think that he will not be able to be punished for it. Dissimilarly, the narrator confesses very early on and is immediately punished for his actions, while Montresor is not even suspected of his crime until he confesses it voluntarily...

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