45 pages 1 hour read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1846

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Story Analysis

Analysis: “The Cask of Amontillado”

“The Cask of Amontillado” rests among Poe’s mysterious and macabre Gothic tales of horror. Poe’s work is largely inspired by Romanticism as well as the occult. His works typically present a psychological intensity, a quality very apparent in this story.

The reader is first introduced to an unnamed narrator who launches into his story by swearing vengeance for the “thousand injuries of Fortunato” he has borne (161). The theme of revenge thus emerges from the story’s outset. Additionally, the reader can only wonder what injustices Fortunato committed; up to the end of the story, this question remains unanswered. Thus, the narrative arrives through an unreliable narrator—later introduced as Montresor—as there is no evidence to justify his murderous measures. There is a radical disparity between the weight of his actions and the weight of his evidence, and the question arises of his psychological stability.

More evidence for the narrator’s unreliability is in his rampant falsities throughout the story, presenting the theme of deception and calculation. Montresor lies to Fortunato about having Amontillado, and he previously told his attendants not to stir in the house so as not to be interrupted in his vengeful plot.