The Cask of Amontillado is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1846. The story is set in Italy and tells the tale of Montresor, who takes revenge on his former friend, Fortunato. Montresor hides his anger to convince Fortunato that they are still friends and entices him into the Montresor family catacombs, where he chains him to a wall and leaves him to die.
The story is one of Poe’s most famous works and is often studied in literature classes. It is also one of his darkest tales, due to its themes of revenge and death.
Settings are clearly critical—and as a storyteller, you must ensure that the setting is appropriate for the tale.” Setting has an impact on the entire narrative, “as novelist Joan Lingard explains (‘Brainy Quotes’). This is absolutely true because the environment may have an influence on the rest of the tale. The mood, weather conditions, human behaviours, and other elements in a story’s environment can all have an impact on it.
The Cask of Amontillado is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. The story is about revenge and Montresor’s dark journey to take it. The setting takes place in a dark catacomb in Italy during carnival season. The time period could be inferred to be around the late 1700s or early 1800s. The Cask of Amontillado is a story that uses its setting to create a feeling of suspense, horror, and unease.
The first element of the setting is the time period. The story takes place during carnival season, which adds to the already eerie feeling of the story. It is never explicitly stated what year the story takes place, but it can be inferred to be around the late 1700s or early 1800s. This is because of the clothing Montresor and Fortunato are wearing.
They are both wearing “fitting” clothing of the time period which includes, “a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand,” (Poe 2). The carnival season also plays into the setting because it would have been a time when people were celebrating and being merry. This contrast between the happiness of the carnival and the darkness of the catacombs creates a feeling of unease.
The setting of “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe is unsettling and macabre, which suits the tale’s grim tone. The story’s location comprises a carnival, catacombs, and a vault. The tale’s initial scene is a carnival. Many people would connect a carnival with games such as ring toss, petting zoos, thrill rides, and family fun times. It is also said to be “nearly dark,” on an evening in the spring (Poe #).
The weather adds to the dreariness of the carnival. It being “almost dark” lends to an air of mystery and suspense. The carnival is where the main character, Montresor, meets his victim, Fortunato.
Fortunato is heavily intoxicated and Montresor takes advantage of this by offering him wine. Fortunato agrees to go to Montresor’s home to judge the quality of the wine. Along the way, they stop at various locations including a wine cellar. At each stop, Fortunato grows more and more drunk. When they finally arrive at Montresor’s home, Fortunato is so drunk that he trips on his own feet and falls into the open crypt.
Montresor then chains Fortunato to the wall and starts to seal up the opening to the crypt with him inside. As he is sealing up the crypt, Montresor reveals his motive for killing Fortunato. He explains that Fortunato had hurt him a thousand times and insulted him. Montresor also says that he will not rest until Fortunato “is within my grasp” (Poe #).
Fortunato pleads with Montresor to let him go, but Montresor throws a lit torch into the crypt, leaving Fortunato to die in the dark. The Cask of Amontillado is a short story with a dark and twisted plot. The setting adds to the story’s overall suspense and gives the reader a sense of foreboding. Poe’s use of descriptive language creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind, making the story all the more disturbing.
This would be a lovely and peaceful time of the day. Poe, on the other hand, twists our preconception of a carnival with Montresor’s vengeful mind and propels the darkness forward with Montresor’s attempts at retribution. Because it symbolizes freedom in certain ways owing to its roaming, fresh air, and enjoyment-inducing environment, a carnival may have been chosen.
The fun nature is completely juxtaposed in Poe’s story. There are many symbols throughout the story that help create this feeling of a dark and vengeful time. For example, the Fortunato character wears a Jester’s outfit which could be interpreted as him being a fool. He is also quite drunk which could make him an easy target for Montresor.
The cask of Amontillado itself is a symbol for death because it will be used to trap Fortunato inside the catacombs. Furthermore, once Fortunato is entombed, he will eventually die due to ran out of air and/or water. Another example, is when Montresor offers wine to Fortunato as a way to get him drunk. The wine could be interpreted as blood because it is red and it is what will be spilt when Fortunato dies.
Poe also uses foreshadowing in the story by giving small hints of what is to come without revealing the ending. For example, Montresor says “The voice said–‘Ha! ha! ha! –he! he! he! –a very good joke, indeed –an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo –he! he! he! –over our wine –he! he! he!’” (Poe 4). This shows that Montresor has already planned out how he will kill Fortunato and is already laughing about it in his head.
He is also looking forward to tells others about the “joke” he played on Fortunato. Another example, is when Fortunato says “The Amontillado!” (Poe 7). This could be interpreted as Fortunato knowing that he will be entombed because an amontillado is a type of wine that is sealed with a cork. The use of foreshadowing creates suspense for the reader because they are aware that something bad is going to happen, but they do not know when or how it will happen.