Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado"
Is there really a perfect crime? This is the main point in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” The story is a dark tale of a presumably insane man who suffers from, according to him, “the thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could” (Poe 75). One of the major factors in telling this story is the setting. The story is set primarily in the Montresor family catacombs, which provides the dark setting, filled with human remains, and this reflects where Montresor commits his crime, where no one will expect. Furthermore, the narration also helps in telling the story. It is first person point of view, so the story is heard entirely from him. Readers will go into Montresor’s thoughts and be curious about why he wants to kill Fortunato so badly. Furthermore, the symbolism of the story is very important and many symbols in symbolizing Montresor killing Fortunato. Finally, the insane Montresor tried to pull the perfect crime but fails; he does not pull the perfect crime, he fails his goal when he realizes he is doing a bad thing.
In Edgar Allen Poe’s tale, the setting of Montresor’s catacombs provides Montresor with a place where he can kill Fortunato with almost no evidence on who killed him, helping his attempt at making the perfect crime. The catacombs in “The Cask of Amontillado” are old with spider webs as well as “long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs” (Poe 78). The setting of the catacombs is also dark; Montresor and Fortunato need torches to proceed through it. Such a creepy setting like the burial vaults of one’s family provides the perfect place for Montresor commit his crime. Not only is the setting visually disturbing, but the atmosphere is also disturbing; there is the “intense foulness of the air [that] caused our flambeaux rather to glow in the flame” (Poe 78), as well as the dampness. Not many people would be interested in touring the catacombs because of such conditions, plus the fact that Montresor strung bones against his new wall so that people would think of it as a natural one. There would be almost no evidence to convict him; thus making what he was attempting the perfect crime.
The narration in the story gives readers the impression that Montresor is insane. Readers hear this story from the first person, from Montresor himself, and hear the way he perceives every event and every detail in its entirety, all from his point of view without anyone else’s point of view interfering. He refers to Fortunato as his friend, a clue that Montresor is not acting in his right mind. If Montresor had a good motive like Fortunato killing someone close to him, he would refer to Fortunato as his enemy. The reader also feels the pain Montresor when he is erecting the wall over Fortunato; Montresor does not feel right in what he is doing. He even tries to call...