The Cask of Amontillado
by: Edgar Allan Poe
In The Cask of Amontillado, Edgar Allen Poe manipulates the story to be the way he wants it to be by using the point of view of the narrator, the setting, and a common monotonous sentiment throughout the story. Poe is successful in maintaining a spirit of perverseness.
The point of view plays a very important role in influencing the reader's perception of the story. The first line of the story is a good example of how the narrator attempts to bring the reader to his side, right from the start. “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (101). Montresor, the ...view middle of the document...
In The Cask of Amontillado, Montresor tries to convince the reader that walling up Fortunato is his way of making himself feel justified in his actions. In reality, Poe tells the story from Montresor's point of view in order to increase the astonishment and depravity that the reader feels.
The scene where Montresor walls up Fortunato is by far the most perverse scene in the story. The scene is particularly effective, in my opinion, because of the cordial manner maintained by the narrator up to the point when he is nearly finished walling up Fortunato. There is no struggle or resistance put up by Fortunato: “'The Amontillado!', ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment” (104). If Poe had Fortunato put up a struggle or had the narrator shown any anger, it would have destroyed the consistent mood of the story up to that point. Instead, Poe has Fortunato remain intoxicated right up until the point where it is too late for him to struggle. The immediate sobering up of Fortunato, when he is nearly completely walled up, also adds to the effect of the scene. “It was not the cry of a drunken man” (104). This is the intended affect that Poe had in mind, when telling the story from the point of view of Montresor.
If Poe had chosen to relate the story from the point of view of Fortunato, not Montresor, the effect would have immediately dulled the story and the mystery would have perished like an individual in a vacuum. Like a person in a vacuum, Poe's stories would also suffocate without the tangible dark side of human existence. Poe's creations thrive on inner terror and the evil of people. I believe Poe chose the first person point of view in this story to peer inside the human mind and condition. In The Cask of Amontillado, Poe realized that the viewpoint must be that of Montresor, considering that had he chosen to tell his story through the victim, Fortunato, it would no doubt have lost its effective, memorable qualities. Without Montresor as narrator, this dark tale would possess no true clarity, would forfeit its chilling suspense, and would fail to offer the reader a valid glimpse into Montresor's icy and calculating mind.
Montresor is clearly deranged and twisted. However, Poe ensures that he is still competent enough to clearly relate the events of this fateful night, even if it is told some 50 years later. Poe writes this story from the perspective of Montresor, who vows revenge against Fortunato in an effort to support his time-honored family motto: "Nemo me impune lacessit" (103) or “no one provokes me with impunity.” Poe does not intend for the reader to sympathize with Montresor because he has been wronged by Fortunato, but rather to judge him. Telling the story from Montresor's point of view, intensifies the effect of moral shock and horror. Once again, the reader is invited to delve into the inner workings of a sinister mind.
Poe cleverly and purposefully uses both verbal and...