Edgar Allen Poe's Story "The Cask Of Amontillado" Is An Illistration Of How Crimes And There Consiquences

1023 words - 4 pages

The Punishment must fit the crime.In "The Cask of Amontillado", Montresor, pontificates that the punishment must fit the crime as demonstrated in his family motto, "No one assails me without impunity." Montresor wholly interprets the insult of Fortunato as a mortal crime; therefore Fortunato must pay with his life-no other punishment would be satisfactory. To the reader, this may seem overly harsh, but can only imagine effects of this insult on Montresor. While this punishment may have fit the crime, nonetheless, punishments have evolved over time and this story demonstrates there is a need to separate the accuser from the one who judges the crime."The thousands injures of Fortunato I had borne as I best could" (Poe 173). Montresor, the central narrator of this story, tells us, Fortunato had over time constantly and repeatedly caused some type of harm to him. While we do not know the exact harm that was caused we are left to assume that the some of the injustices may have been small and able to bear. However Fortunato takes it one step to far: "but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge" (173). While we still cannot know the exact crime that Fortunate committed, we have to understand that it must have been some grave act. This act was so heinous in nature that Montresor deemed this a mortal crime, at least in his mind, and demanded the life of Fortunato as repayment for his wrong doing. What could Fortunato have done to cause such pain in Montresor? While the story never spells it out directly we do have some more insight into the narrators mind,We will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. (174)Fortunato may have caused Montresor to lose perhaps his wife? His money? Or possibly just caused him to have a great dishonor to his family name. All are plausible this is then were the family motto "Nemo me impune lacessit" (175), would tell us a lot. No one attacks me without paying dearly. As stated earlier Fortunato's actions were a grave attack, mortal harm requires Montresor to take his life. We can relate this vengeful behavior to the bible. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" or loosely translated should you do an "eye or a tooth's" worth of damage to me I am allowed, or expected, to take an "eye or a tooth's" worth of payment in return. While we don't see that Fortunato actually killed someone he in Montresor's believe caused a life's worth of damage so therefore the only reasonable retribution would be Fortunato's life.Was the wrong Fortunato caused worth his life? In the today's standards his punishment did most likely not fit the crime. However, this story first appeared in the 1846 we would have to infer that the time setting of the story is some time in the late 1700s or early 1800s. In this time period mere disrespect of...

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