Irony and Symbolism in the Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allen Poe was a famous poet, short-story writer, and literary critic. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and his parents died when he was very young. His publishing career started with a few poems he submitted anonymously (Edgar Allan Poe). Poe became famous for his tales of mystery and horror and many of his homes have turned into museums today. Edgar Allan Poe’s stories keep readers on the edge of their seats, but why?
In Poe’s famous short story, the Cask of Amontillado, a crazy story of deceit, revenge and pride is wove as Montressor plots to murder his friend, Fortunado. The story is about Montressor’s journey both into the catacombs and into insanity. The irony and the symbolism are the very effects that turn this tale into such a horrific reading experience, by proving exactly what drives Montressor crazy.
Irony can be defined as “a manner of expression through which words or events convoy a reality different from or even opposite to appearance or expectation.” (The Cask) The Cask of Amontillado is full of irony from the very beginning. The name Fortunado means good fortune, but actually he ends up being murdered. The setting is also ironic; it’s set in a carnival. Carnival implies celebration and fun all around, and this story is definitely not happy. There is a lot of verbal irony in the story as well. One example is when Fortunado states, “I will not die of a cough,” (Poe 61) and Montressor replies “True, true.”
(Poe 61) Another example of verbal irony is when Montressor toasts to Fortunado’s good health, when indead, his “good health” is about to end.
These examples of irony show how twisted and contorted Montressor’s mind really is. By toasting to Fortunado’s health, he is taking his first step into insanity. He is taking a sick pleasure in the fact that he is about to kill his companion. The fact that he chooses to do so in a carnival, also shows...