Questions on American Literature
Question 4 on P16 Describe briefly how Poe characterizes Montresor and Fortunato as contrasts.
“The Cask of Amontillado” best explains Poe’s literary theory on short story writing that literature creates beauty and shows intensity of emotion as he characterizes Montresor and Fortunato as striking contrasts.
At the beginning of the story, Montresor’s self-introduction left readers an impression that he was a person with great patience as he had borne Fortunato’s insult many a time before. And his determination to revenge seemed only words without action. Yet, he turned out to be a cunning, discreet avenger, plotting secretly and waiting patiently for a best opportunity to appear. When a perfect moment came, he grasped it and smilingly begged for Fortunato’s favor while he covered his evil intention so well that Fortunato couldn’t help but fall into his trap. The so-called bad guy, Fortunato, took such unusual pride in his knowledge of wine and his skill of wine judgment that he became insensitive, foolishly blind, unable to detect Montresor’s sinister purpose. He gradually approached his grave quite willingly and Montresor easily took his advantage. It was towards the end of the story that truth was revealed. Montresor, the relentless avenger, attacked Fortunato, the big fool, and buried him alive. We readers took aback, hard to believe Montresor’s cruelty. The emotional intensity was thus naturally achieved.
Through such characterization Poe reveals his purpose of writing, i.e., there is evil in human nature, which is usually covered and ignored, and too much pride brings one his final destruction.
Question 1. p. 33. Why is the prison the setting of Chapter I and what is the implication of the description of the roses?
Hawthorne’s intention of using the prison as the setting of Chapter I is quite obvious. Here, the prison – “black flower of civilized society” symbolizes the 17th-century Puritan society of...