OWL Magazine Korea

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, a writer, poet, and novelist from 19th-century America, is particularly well-known for his works of horror and thriller. He is considered a pioneer of the horror and Gothic genres and is also regarded as a precursor to modern mystery and novels.

Despite being revered as a great poet and writer who laid the foundation for modern American literature, Poe’s life was filled with misfortune. He faced difficulties due to his eccentric personality and poverty. In the 19th century, it was rare for writers to receive publishing contracts exceeding $100, and even Poe’s most successful work, “The Raven,” earned him only $9.

“The Cask of Amontillado”

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s most notable short stories is “The Cask of Amontillado,” which was published in November 1846 in “Godey’s Lady’s Book.”

Generally pronounced as “ah-mon-tee-YAH-doh,” the story is set in an unnamed Italian city during an unspecified time of the year, with the backdrop of the carnival season. The protagonist seeks revenge on a friend he believes has insulted him.

The protagonist, referred to as “I” (Montresor), invites his friend Fortunato to his home, claiming to have obtained a cask of Amontillado wine in his cellar and asks him to taste it. Fortunato is lured into the cellar, where the two men drink the strong wine, and Fortunato becomes increasingly intoxicated. Eventually, they reach the end of the cellar, where Montresor reveals his true intention: to exact revenge on Fortunato for past grievances.

Montresor chains the intoxicated Fortunato to the wall of the underground crypt and proceeds to wall him in with bricks, slowly entombing him. Initially, Fortunato dismisses the situation as a drunken hallucination but soon realizes the danger he is in and pleads for mercy. However, Montresor remains resolute, sealing Fortunato’s fate with the final words, “Rest in Peace.”

“Insight into Human Nature through Contrasting Images of Surface and Underground, Festival and Death

The two locations depicted in the story convey entirely contrasting feelings. While the surface is vibrant, bright, and full of life due to the ongoing festival, deep underground, murder takes place. The surface represents vitality and exuberance, while the underground is dark, lifeless, and conveys a sense of gloom and loneliness.

The contrasting images of the two locations can be seen as reflections of another surface and underground within human nature. The exterior represents the world of human consciousness, while the interior symbolizes the realm of the human unconscious. The underground world reveals forbidden desires or pleasures hidden within the fractured self. Through this technique, the author provides insights into the darkness and duality of human nature.

Encountering Edgar Allan Poe’s works can evoke eerie and ominous feelings. Could it be that he is rightfully regarded as a pioneer of the horror and Gothic genres? “The Cask of Amontillado” exemplifies Edgar Allan Poe’s style effectively.

“The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe”

  • Author: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Publication Date: November 23, 2018
  • ISBN13: 9788952794857
  • Yes24 Link: http://app.ac/rbMpbTl23