Both characters pride leads to some sort of destructive action during the story. Pride can be the reason someone is either over confident or, if a person’s pride is insulted or questioned, can lead to retaliation or revenge against that person. Throughout Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado” there is an underlying motif of pride in which Montressor’s family arms are used to foreshadow the revenge that will be imparted upon Fortunato later on in Poe’s story and Fortunato’s pride leading him right into Montressor’s trap.
Every family has a unique coat of arms. The coat of arms consists of a family crest and motto. Fortunato asks Montressor what his family arms are. He says, “A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel”(Poe 110). After he explains his family crest Fortunato asks him what his family motto is. He answers with, “Nemo me impune lacessit” (Poe 110). “[This] motto is also the motto of Scotland and the Order of the Thistle”(Cervo 155).
At the beginning of the story Montressor says, “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge”(Poe 108). This means that Fortunato had said something that insulted him and Montressor’s pride is driving him to feel the need not to retaliate immediately but to plan out a revenge that will ultimately lead to him killing Fortunato. It is not told in the story what Fortunato said to insult Montressor in order for him to justify his revenge against Fortunato. Instead of Montressor simply forgiving Fortunato for what he said he decided to take the easier route and sought out his revenge. As Author Ellis Cose said, “[Revenge] is so much more accessible, for most of us anyway, than the impulse to forgive”(Cose 65). He goes on to say that “It is so much more easier to strike back- or to fantasize about striking back- than to shower enemies with compassion and goodwill”(Cose 65). Throughout history there are stories of people seeking revenge upon their perpetrators. This theme of revenge is seen as far back as Greek theatre and even before. One of the most prime examples is the revenge in the Greek play Medea. This is a story of a wife who while seeking revenge on her husband kills the other woman he had been sleeping with and her own two children. The wife’s pride leads her to plan out the ultimate revenge against her husband. After the husband had cheated on his wife with another women she vowed to show him pain like no other. Taking everything that he cared about away from him was her plan of revenge. This is similar to the revenge in “ The Cask of Amontillado”. Both characters that were pursuing revenge had their pride lead them to follow through with their revenge. This shows that revenge can be seen all through history.
Fortunato’s pride is also key factor in his own demise. As Montressor tells Fortunato that he has a pipe of Amontillado in...