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The Key Factor Essay

981 words - 4 pages

In his short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe tells a tale of murder through the protagonist of the story, Montresor. He is recalling the event years after it happened. Fortunato, the man who gave Montresor a “thousand injuries . . . [and] ventured upon insult” is walled up in Montresor’s wine cellar. The details of the injuries and insult are never disclosed to the reader, all that is known is that the narrator—Montresor—is angered to the point of homicide. Irony is the key factor in creating an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.
Poe uses the setting along with the victim’s name to ultimately enhance the irony in this tale of revenge. The backdrop is one of fun and ...view middle of the document...

The mystery is not only associated with the story, but also the characters themselves.
All through the night Montresor never once gives the impression that he has a deep burning hatred inside toward Fortunato. On the surface Montresor is the perfect gentleman declaring, “My friend . . . I will not impose upon your good nature.” (Poe 227). Montresor goes as far as to act concerned about Fortunato’s health. Montresor insists, “we will go back; your health is precious” (Poe 228). Fortunato is even lavished with compliments from Montresor such as “You are rich, respected, admired, beloved” (Poe 228). Fortunato is lulled into a state of complete security while being led to an early grave. Montresor’s ability to hide the loathing that he feels for Fortunato adds to the suspense on that night.
Montresor successfully uses irony to his advantage when he gives specific orders to his servants that they are “not to stir from the house” (Poe 227); he asserts that he knew “These orders were sufficient . . . To insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned” (Poe 228). Montresor commands his servants to do the exact opposite of what he wants them to do. The house is void of anyone who can bear witness to Fortunato entering but never exiting.
Montresor continuously speaks ironically when imploring Fortunato to turn back. A mutual friend is used as leverage; Luchesi is mentioned many times as the man that can take Fortunato’s place should he need to turn back. Montresor is counting on Fortunato’s pride of his wine connoisseurship to propel him deeper into the damp wine cellar. Montresor does not want Fortunato to turn back for any reason and does not want Luchesi in Fortunato’s place, yet Montresor is very insistent that Fortunato should not continue into the moist...

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