The Setting of The Cask of Amontillado
An important element in any story is setting. Authors use setting to convey certain feelings brought on by the character’s surroundings. It also subliminally serves to illustrate the character’s intentions. In “The Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allen Poe uses the dark, imposing setting to do just that, communicate the underlying theme of the story, being death, revenge and deception.
Poe begins setting the tone of the story by describing the gloomy and threatening vaults beneath Montressor’s home. The first description of the Montressor home, as well as the reader’s first hint that something is amiss, is the description of the time off Montressor had required his employees to take. This alone lets us know that some of his intentions are less than virtuous. He describes the vaults as extensive, having many rooms, and being insufferably damp. This description of Montressor’s vaults strikes a feeling of uneasiness and fear in the reader, as well as a fear of malevolent things to come. References to the bodies laid to rest in the catacombs seemingly foreshadow Fourtunato’s demise. The preservative Potassium Nitrate hung on the walls “like moss” apparently to preserve these bodies.
Although Poe does not describe many of the Catacomb rooms, I believe he chooses not to. This is simply a tool to lead the readers to believe that the rooms are all the same, therefore, bringing sobering fear and possibly even death with them. Poe describes these few rooms, each having the decayed remains of the deceased, bringing on a feeling of...