Analysis of “The Cask of Amontillado” 524 words

Montresor in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” appears to be insane as a result of our societal standards, but it is possible that he is completely sane and is aware that what he is doing is wrong. Montresor seems to think he is justified in killing Fortunato due to some unknown insult that took place before the stories occurrence. The beginning lines suggest he is on his death bed confessing to a preacher that he buried Fortunato in his family catacombs. On one hand Montresor feeling the need to confess is evidence that he is sane, but on the other hand since he is so close to death he might be telling this story to let someone else know that he got his revenge. If Montresor is sane then it makes sense that he would feel guilty about killing Fortunato and he might feel obligated to confess to a preacher about his wrongdoing, but many serial killers who have been deemed legally insane get pleasure out of telling the stories of their murders. The method in which Montresor decides to kill Fortunato is also a slow painful death, and to make matters worse Montresor stays there and taunts Fortuanto while he slowly dies. However, when Fortunato stops replying to Montresors taunts he yells out for him indicating he is worried about Fortunato or that he is simply making sure he is dead so he will not be able to yell out for help. At the end Montresor says to himself, “My heart got sick—on account of the dampness of the Catacombs.” The beginning almost seems to imply that he is sane and regrets murdering Fortunato, but then he quickly makes sure the reader knows this sick feeling is due only to the dampness of the catacombs. The final sentence “In pace requiescat!” meaning may he rest in peace, appears to be sarcastic. Overall there appears to be more of a case for Montresor’s insanity. He has many of the characteristics of your typical insane serial killer such as the following: He feels justified in killing Fortunato as if he has the right to do so, he appears to be getting some sort of satisfaction out of telling the story of his revenge, he smiles at the thought of Fortunato’s demise, he pretends to be worried about fortunate to lure him into a false sense of security, and he watches Fortunato and taunts him as he dies. All of these things seem to point towards the fact that he is insane, but Montresor is afraid he will get caught and is very careful to cover up his tracks. This would suggest that he is in fact perfectly sane, and considering the fact that we do not know what wrong Fortunato committed it is difficult to say if Fortunato deserved this fate. The case for Montresor’s insanity is more up front, we can see it without looking deeply at the words. However, we can find evidence that he is sane when we look at the fact that all of it was systematically thought out and he went to great lengths to hide it.amontillado

An interesting animated video based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”


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