“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

The cask of Amontillado is an epic story involving two antagonists, Montresor and Fortunato whose destinies lie in their desire for revenge and murder. The author of the book successfully uses deception to create a charming character before heightening his symbolic scheme through suspense. The story remains a puzzle from the start to the end, and it is not clear why Montresor harbors hatred towards Fortunato. The story starts with celebration, pomp and color, but the theme changes from that of celebration to antagonism and thoughts of vengeance.

Thesis statement: From the story, revenge with impunity is impossible. The story shows the betrayal of one-man leads to a cycle of revenge in the Cask of Amontillado.

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Theme of Revenge

Allan Poe use of “language invokes the thought of revenge throughout the story as the language used pulls the reader to the theme of revenge. For example, Poe states that he would go to any length to avenge and goes on to say that he will not only punish but punish with impunity” (50). Montresor takes the idea of revenge seriously and his determination to avenge at whatever cost leads to the murder of Fortunato. By making this confirmation, Montresor is not just legitimizing his requirement for vengeance, he is likewise thinking of reasons as to why he cannot pardon Fortunato.

Poe used suspense in the story, as no one knew the wrong that Fortunato did to Montresor. Poe uses a language that passes anxiety to the reader. For example, the expectation of the event at the carnival was that of happiness and celebrations in a serene environment, but it ended up being sad. Montresor was calculative, and he waited until it was dark to carry out his revenge. Poe states that “It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season” (50). The narrator uses symbolism and irony to point out that there was something wrong with the setting. The narrator brings the reader to the dark side of the plot that was messy, and this makes the reader question what it really meant.

The dark side of the story was a place of death, which was the catacombs, and it was a perfect location to commit and conceal the death. The use of suspense runs through the story. This is important as it draws the attention of the reader to know the cause of revenge without any reason. Fortuanto loved drinking, and his enemies used wine to drive him to his death. Allan Poe used “the symbolism of Montresor’s wine room as the ideal location for their plan.

The wine room had a route to the catacombs where his friends buried Fortuanto alive” (51). This shows that Montresor had killed other people because a family catacomb was a place to bury the loved ones only, but a closer look showed the bones of other people who laid to rest improperly. This showed that Montresor’s had no respect for the dead. Poe stated, “Montresor’s belief was “Nemo me impune lacessit” nobody harms me without punishment. This shows that in Montresor Family, death is way of punishment for any insult or threat” (71). This title was symbolic as it instilled fear in people.


The moral of the story revolves around the theme of revenge that leads to death that goes unpunished. Montresor is certain that Fortunato got what he warranted and he is pleased he accomplished his wish. Montresor’s plan was revenge and he achieved it when he buried Fortunato alive. Montresor did not have the moral authority to murder Fortunato but he did it.

Works Cited

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Cask of Amontillado, Charlottesville, Va: University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center, 2013. Print.


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