The Cask of Amontillado: Character Analysis – Presentation Transcript 1. Bianca Monique Bargas 2. Amontillado is pale medium-dry sherry from Spain . Character Analysis 3. Montresor 4. Insane . Montresor’s motive for murder is uncertain other than the vague & quot; thousand injuries & quot; to which he refers. . Many commentators conclude that, lacking significant reason, Montresor must be insane, though even this is questionable because of the intricate details of the plot. 5. Very Intelligent . the cleverly and carefully planned murder hasn’t been discovered till his death. The whole murder is arranged in details. . his visible behavior seems to be natural and normal at the same time. 6. Unsympathetic Character . A sympathetic character isn’t necessarily character we feel sympathy for; a sympathetic character is simply a character we can relate to, at least on some level 7. Confessing or Bragging . This is another area where we can totally identify with Montresor. Critics have been arguing for a hundred years over whether Montresor is confessing his sins or bragging about his crimes. We say it’s probably a bit of both. . Sensitive about his reputation . He easily gets angry and is very sensitive upon other’s people opinion about him. He is vain and proud, because of which unable to stand an insult, which, to his mind, damages his reputation. Because of his vanity and pride, he treats this as a serious hurt 9. Cruel . He also takes pleasure in others suffering. His murder is very cruel. 10. Fortunato 11. Addiction . Fortunato is addicted to wine. He’s already really drunk when he meets Montresor, and he thinks the Amontillado can help him take it to the next level.
Right up until the end, he thinks of Amontillado, and only Amontillado. Plus, he lets Montresor get him get even more drunk down in the catacomb. 12. Insensitive . Whether he really hurt and insulted Montresor or not, he’s so insensitive, he doesn’t notice that Montresor is mad at him, something any fool can see and he just guzzles Montresor’s wine without even saying “thank you. ” 13. Proud or Greedy . He’s either too proud or too greedy. Maybe Montresor doesn’t need to bring up Luchesi to get Fortunato down in the hole, but it doesn’t hurt.
Fortunato either wants to prove that he’s a better wine taster than Luchesi, or he wants to make sure Luchesi doesn’t get his hands on the Amontillado. 14. Trusty . Being too trusting can be a weakness – if you hang out with guys like Montresor. Montresor says he made sure Fortunato had no reason to doubt him. But still, Fortunato should know better than to follow a masked man into a catacomb. . References: . www. shmoop. com/ cask-of-amontillado / fortunato . html . www. shvoong. com/… /1740618-montresor- cask – amontillado – character – analysis / . http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/The_cask_of_amontillado . http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe . www. online-literature. com/ poe / “The Cask of Amontillado,” by Edgar Allan Poe, blends every variation of irony as the author crafts a chilling tale of a monster, ironically named Montresor, beguiling a drunk named Fortunato into tasting a cask of nonexistent wine that he has stored in a catacomb. The names of the central characters are ironic beyond Montresor being a couple of letters from “Monster. ” Fortunato means the lucky or fortunate one. Montresor is French for my treasure. . Verbal irony involves saying one thing but meaning the opposite. Montresor is committed to the idea of killing Fortunato, so verbal irony drips from every word when Montresor, apparently worried about Fortunato’s cough and the effect of the nitre-covered walls of his wine cellar, says, “You will be ill and I cannot be responsible. ” This is just one of repeated instances of verbal irony. 2. Irony of situation occurs when events turn out the opposite of what would ordinarily be expected. It is ironic that a man of misfortune should be named Fortunato.
How fitting it is that the narrator has been able to put up with “the thousand injuries of Fortunato,” but when his treasured name or reputation is insulted, he vows revenge. Also, a story titled “The Cask of Amontillado” leads readers to believe that such a wine container must exist. There is a black cat in “The Black Cat” and a pit with pendulum in “The Pit and the Pendulum. ” In this story, there is ironically no cask of Amontillado.. The murder’s taking place during carnival season and the costumes the two men are wearing are also situationally ironic. 3.
Dramatic irony is what we feel when we as readers or viewers of a story or drama know more than the characters or can interpret more accurately what they have to say. When Montresor repeats Fortunato’s “Let us be gone,” we understand a different meaning than does Fortunato. The Story “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. ” The opening line of the story presents irony of situation. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is a sentence most all of us remember from childhood.
Poe’s speaker says the opposite. He has suffered injuries without complaint, but insults he will not abide. He declares his intention to wreak vengeance on unfortunate Fortunato, who has committed some unspecified. Additionally, “a wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes the redresser. ” Montresor seeks not just to punish “but to punish with impunity. ” We know that Montresor hates Fortunato, but Fortunato is unaware of this. The doomed character is unaware that Montresor’s friendly attitude is a fabrication of good will, that his smile is at the thought of Fortunato’s immolation.
This dramatic irony will continue until the final page when Fortunato becomes an initiate. The story takes place during the carnival season of madness and merrymaking. The drunken Fortunato is wearing motley and the cap and bells of a jester, but he is no wise fool. Montresor plays on Fortunato’s pride in his wine connoisseurship, asking him to verify whether or not Montresor’s fictional bargain-priced wine purchase is expensive Amontillado or ordinary Sherry. Fortunato agrees over Montresor’s protests that it would be an imposition and a health danger, since the vaults where the wine is stored are cold and damp.
Montresor’s expressed concern for the other man’s well-being is at odds with his true intentions. How did Montresor. know that no servants would be present? He had informed them that he would be gone all night and “given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. ” That, he knew, would be enough “to insure their immediate disappearance” as soon as he left. ” That is a combination of verbal and situational irony. The two descend into the catacombs, Montresor repeatedly expressing worry about the nitre-covered walls and exacerbation of Fortunato’s cough.
The unfortunate victim-to-be says, “the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough. ” True. Accepting a bottle of Medoc that Montresor has chosen from the many wines lying in the mould, Fortunato toasts “to the buried that repose around us,” unaware that he will soon join them. “And I to your long life,” responds Montresor knowing that life is shortly to end. Fortunato inquires about the Montresor coat of arms. “A huge human foot d’or, in a field of azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel. The motto is Nemo me impune lacessit – No one can harm me unpunished. The reader again recognizes the relationship of arms and inscription to what is happening. The unfortunate Fortunato does not. More wine is consumed. This second bottle is a flagon of De Grave – another turn of the ironic screw. Montresor makes sure Fortunato will continue by suggesting that they instead turn back to escape the bad air. A scene of low comedy ensues as Fortunato asks whether Montresor is a member of the masons. Montresor produces a mason’s trowel from under his cloak.
Fortunato thinks it a joke, unaware that he is seeing a tool to be used in his entombment. The brotherhood of Free and Accepted Masons is far removed from what has brought these two men together. They proceed through the charnel house, passing the remains of generations of Montresors, to an interior recess. Finding the opening of the 4 by 3 by 6 foot chamber requires displacement of piled bones. They penetrate to a granite wall accessorized with iron staples, one holding a short chain, the other a padlock. Seconds later Montresor has his drunken dupe in chains.
Fortunato is an ignoramus, the term used to insult Luchesi, whom Montresor has several times suggested as a connoisseur who could substitute for Fortunato. Such name-calling may be the propensity for insult that has prompted Montresor’s deadly revenge after the thousand injuries he has absorbed. Even chained to the wall, Fortunato thinks it’s all a big joke and asks about the nonexistent Amontillado. Building stone and mortar readily at hand, Montresor uses his trowel and begins walling up the niche. As the aperture closes with each row of masonry, realization begins to penetrate Fortunato’s drunkenness.
He screams and struggles. As the final stone is about to be inserted, Fortunato laughs again saying it’s all been a joke they can they can share with the revelers at the palazzo. But it’s after midnight; shouldn’t we call it quits? My wife will be wondering where I am. “Let us be gone. ” When Montresor repeats that line, “be gone” has a different meaning. Fortunato has uttered his last words. Montresor hears only the jingling of the bells on his victim’s cap. “My heart grew sick,” he says. Is this a hint of remorseful humanity in Montresor? Emphatically not.
In a neat bit of irony that is lost on many readers, Montresor says in the next sentence that his heartsickness had nothing in it of pity. It was just the dampness that was getting to him. Shaking off his malaise, he inserts the last stone, plasters it, and returns the displaced bones. “For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. ” Montresor is gleeful. He has been relating a grisly event of long ago. He has indeed punished with impunity, giving new meaning to the motto on his coat of arms. The final sentence echoes the Latin of the requiem mass.
In pace requiescat: May he rest in peace. One can only imagine the painfully slow death by thirst and starvation, Fortunato did not die in peace, and the sorrowful emotions of the requiem mass are absent. Montresor has punished with impunity. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to come up with another story in which there is as much irony at work as it is in “The Cask of Amontillado. ” Analysis http://www. shmoop. com/cask-of-amontillado/literary-devices. html The Coat of Arms Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory Everything takes on symbolic meaning in “The Cask. ” Every detail seems to tand for something else, or to be flashing an encoded, and no doubt gruesome, message that we are compelled to decipher. The Montresor family coat of arms really stands out, though, for several reasons.?? First let’s break down the description. Picture a shield. On it is a picture of a giant gold “human foot” in “a field azure” – i. e. , a blue field. The foot is “crush[ing]” a wild and crazy “serpent. ” The serpent’s fangs are buried in the foot’s heel. Seems obvious, right? Fortunato is a snake in the grass, he bit Montresor, and Montresor’s big gold foot is coming crashing down on him as a result. ??
There’s that motto to go with it: “Nemo me impune lacessit. ” A quick search of the Internet reveals that this means “no one attacks me with impunity” ? and that it’s the motto of Scotland! ?? When we find this out, it becomes pretty obvious that the coat of arms is fabricated. It’s Montresor’s fantasy of what he wants to have happen, and yet another hint that Fortunato doesn’t get. But all that really tells us is what we already know: Montresor lies.?? What’s really significant about the arms is the color “azure. ” This is the only color explicitly mentioned that isn’t connected to death and darkness.
It literally means “sky blue” and sky means freedom, especially when we contrast it with the claustrophobic, prison-like atmosphere of the catacomb.?? This also speaks to the theme “Drugs and Alcohol. ” We know that Poe often used his fiction to explore his addictions, one of which was the drug laudanum. Laudanum comes from poppies – often blue ones. The “field azure” on the arms could be a field of poppies. If so, it makes all that stuff about freedom seem ironic. If it represents addiction, it represents imprisonment, thus highlighting the story’s tension between freedom and confinement. The Cask of Amontillado Setting
Where It All Goes Down An underground catacomb, somewhere in Italy, during the carnival season The setting in “The Cask,” and in most Horror or Gothic Fiction, has a special purpose: to suggest freedom or confinement, in harmony or opposition to the freedom or confinement of the characters. This is called the “Gothic Interior. ” Most people go back and forth between feeling free and feeling trapped. The Gothic Interior is meant to make us hyperaware of these emotions through careful attention to the setting. ?? When we look at the settings of “The Cask,” we can see that the story has a distinct movement from freedom to confinement. ? First, let’s start with the country. Italy doesn’t directly factor into this formula of the Gothic Interior, at least not in an obvious way. It might have something to do with the guy who wrote the first explicitly “Gothic” story, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story. That guy is Horace Walpole, and when he first published Otranto, he claimed that it was a translation of an old Italian manuscript he found. When the story became a huge success, he confessed that he wrote it himself. ?? Not so coincidentally, Otranto has much to do with freedom and confinement.
In a nutshell, it’s about a giant gold helmet falling from the sky and trapping a guy underneath it. So, the Italian setting is probably Poe’s nod to Walpole.?? The carnival season and the Montresor family catacomb are a bit more direct. The carnival is a literal celebration of freedom, which both Montresor and Fortunato are participating in at the beginning of the story.?? As they journey through the catacomb, Montresor and Fortunato move into smaller and smaller ? and fouler and fouler ? spaces. This suggesting that, as they travel farther away from fresh air, they are also moving further away from freedom. ? Fortunato is eventually trapped in a space that represents the opposite of freedom: he’s chained up and bricked inside a man-sized crypt with no air and no way out. You can certainly argue that Montresor presents a contrast to Fortunato’s fate in that he finds freedom at the end of the story: he is alive.?? Montresor is free to do as he wishes. Ironically, what he wishes to do is tell this story. Which means that the story has him trapped. He can’t forget it, and he has to talk about it. In his mind, he’s still down there in the hole with Fortunato. The Cask of Amontillado Narrator:
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him? First Person (Central Narrator) Montresor is our vile narrator. He is dedicated to his own point of view, which is cold, merciless, brutal, conniving, and vengeful. He doesn’t mind telling us about his torture and murder of Fortunato; indeed, he thinks what he did was the just, right way to handle the situation.?? Given his brutality and insensitivity, it might surprise you to learn that Montresor’s point of view also involves poetry and writing. A quick look at Poe’s philosophy of fiction writing will help you see how we come to this conclusion.??
In addition to the idea of “secret writing,” which we discuss in “What’s Up With the Title,” Poe was very concerned with the form his stories should take. He wanted each story to be a little puzzle, with all sorts of hidden pieces we have to try to pick out ourselves. You can see this idea in the tight structure of “The Cask. ” ?? Poe also believed that lyric poetry, or poetry that “is characterized by the expression of the poet’s innermost feelings, thoughts, and imagination” was the highest form of writing, and he wanted to bring short story writing up to the level of lyric poetry. ? When we take all that into account, Montresor’s confession/brag-fest begins to look suspiciously meta-fictional. Meta-fiction means that a story or a moment in the story comments on the writing process in some way. It tells us how the author feels about writing.?? Because Montresor is the guy telling the story, he becomes symbolic of the writer and is likely to have some of the writer’s habits – and here we mean both the literal writer, in this case Poe, and, in the larger sense, any person who is driven to express themselves by writing.
This isn’t necessarily true of all first person narratives, but in Montresor’s case, it’s abundantly clear – even if we don’t know Poe’s philosophy.?? Look at the names. Montresor, and Fortunato. Do those sound like real people to you? Of course not, because Montresor is making it all up and he wants us to know it. (See “Symbols, Imagery, Allegory” and the Montresor Family’s “Character Analysis” to find out why we think this. ) ?? In addition to being phony, the names are rhythmic, song-like, and should remind us of Poe and poetry. For-tu-na-to. Mon-tre-sor.
These are names to be sung, said out loud, like poetry. Amontillado is the only name not invented by Montresor, and it has that same quality A-mon- ti -lla –do – it almost seems like a combination of Montresor and Fortunato. It rhymes with Fortunato, and it shares a mon, which can mean both the possessive “mine” or “mound” or “mountain. ” This might suggest positive feelings about the craft of writing. ?? On the other hand, as we say in the beginning, Montresor’s point of view is also extremely hideous and vile. Which suggests that maybe Poe had some mixed feelings about writing. His writer is a murderer.
From a meta-fictional perspective, Poe, through Montresor, might be asking if fictionalizing one’s own experience, or the experience of others, cheapens, or even destroys the experience. It suggests that he fears that the very process of writing is somehow violent. The Cask of Amontillado Genre Horror or Gothic Fiction; Literary Fiction; Quest; Tragedy You don’t need us to tell you “The Cask” is Horror or Gothic – the whole story is about two guys walking through a vast underground graveyard, in the middle of the night, getting drunker and drunker. And somebody is getting walled in a hole.
That scares us. ?? But what scares us in Poe is what makes “The Cask” Literary Fiction as well. Poe doesn’t show us the violence in the story; there is no blood and no guts or gore – it’s all in the psychology. “The Cask” presents a bizarre psychological study of two creepy men. ?? Both men are on a quest. Fortunato wants the Amontillado, and Montresor wants Fortunato to feel his revenge. And where there is revenge, there is usually tragedy – meaning somebody dies in the end. The Cask of Amontillado Tone Take a story’s temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Creepy, Elegant, and Funny Montresor describes the mounds of bones and stench of human remains so elegantly, it almost sounds beautiful. The following passage is a good example:?? We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux [torches – pronounced “flam-bow”] rather to glow than flame.?? Read it out loud. Doesn’t it sound pretty? See how it moves? See how “flambeaux” rhymes with glow? Perhaps the beauty makes it scarier.?? The creepily humorous tone also adds to our engagement in the story.
In addition to being entertaining, Montresor’s sinister (and usually somewhat lame) jokes (like the one about how he gets his servants out of the house in paragraph 24) make us believe, for a moment, that everything is going be OK. If we can still laugh, it must not be so bad. When things get rough for Fortunato, we feel a little guilty for having laughed before. The Cask of Amontillado Writing Style Ironic Irony probably doesn’t sound very terrifying, but irony contributes hugely to the spine-tingling power of “The Cask. ” You can find irony in every line of the story.??
Critic and teacher Charles N. Nevi says that it’s a crime not to talk about irony when talking about “The Cask. ” Irony basically means that somebody says one thing, but means the opposite. A good example is when there is only one stone left to fit into the wall, and Fortunato says, “Let us be gone. ” This is ironic because he’d have to be a complete fool to think Montresor is going to undo all those layers of bricks and let him out. He’s hoping against hope. ?? Montresor’s reply is even more ironic, “Yes, let us be gone. ” He’s torturing Fortunato with his irony – and has been all along.
Come to think of it, he’s been torturing us with irony, too. We never know if he means if he means what he says.?? Irony is a kind of “play. ” We aren’t talking about a stage production, but rather, the use of language in a playful way. In this case, the stylistic play is twisted and creepy. What’s Up With the Ending? Edgar Allan Poe claimed that a writer shouldn’t put pen to paper until he knows the ending (source). “The Cask” is a shocking example of this idea in action. There are tons of significant aspects of Poe’s ending. We’ll get at some of the bigger ones.??
First, Fortunato finally reveals Montresor’s name; we now know that he is, or claims to be, part of the Montresor family buried in the catacombs. (See “Character Clues,” and the Montresor Family’s “Character Analysis” for the significance of his name. )?? Second, the jingling of Fortunato’s bells is pretty important. As Montresor fills in the fatal wall and Fortunato sobers up, Fortunato cries out and rattles his chains, laughing nervously at Montresor’s “excellent jest. ” When the penny finally drops, Fortunato’s pleas get more and more desperate: “For the love of God, Montresor! But Montresor meets all of Fortunato’s begging with mockery, leaving Fortunato horribly silent. ?? Terrorized, Fortunato knows there is no way out: the final stone will be inserted, and his air will soon run out. Nonetheless, he can’t stop ? Fortunato must assert that he still lives. The jingling is a last ditch effort at communication that makes Fortunato’s death (which we only hear off screen) all the more poignant – it shows us what he’s been reduced to. ?? Third, and just as chilling, if not more so, is Montresor’s failure to be sickened by Fortunato’s jingling.
When he says, “My heart grew sick –,” he teases us cruelly – a la Patrick Bateman. The next few words (“on account of the dampness of the catacombs”) tell us that he isn’t sick because of his crime; he’s bragging that he got away with it. Unless you think he’s just hiding his real feelings of remorse.?? Now for the final line: “In pace requiescat” (89). This means, “may he rest in peace. ” Critic Elena V. Baraban points out: “The phrase is used in the Requiem Mass and during Last Rites” (source. ) It’s what a priest says to a dying person, after the dying person confesses his sins.
By saying this phrase, a priest can forgive the dying for everything he or she has done wrong.?? Baraban claims that this proves Montresor’s story isn’t his own confession. Instead, he’s taking on the role of priest, forgiving Fortunato for his sins, which Fortunato can’t confess on his own, because (obviously) he’s dead. Totally creepy. ?? Unless Montresor really means that “may he rest in peace? ” If Montresor is sincere, and means the words literally, then maybe he feels sorry for what he did, and really wants Fortunato to rest in peace. What do you think?
For more discussion on this, see Montresor’s “Character Analysis. ” The Cask of Amontillado Plot Analysis Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice. Initial Situation An insult, and a vow of revenge Fortunato and Montresor have a history, and a painful one at that. Fortunato has wounded Montresor a “thousand” times. Montresor never complains. But one day, Fortunato goes too far: he insults Montresor, and Montresor vows revenge.
Conflict How to make things right – forever For Montresor to revenge himself for Fortunato’s insult, he has to get away with it – if Fortunato can revenge him back, then Montresor has lost. The punishment must be permanent ? Fortunato has to feel it, and he has to know it’s coming from Montresor. Complication It’s almost too easy… There really isn’t much complication. After a few carefully dropped hints from Montresor (think “Amontillado” and “Luchesi”), Fortunato insists on following Montresor down into the underground graveyard of your worst nightmares.
Montresor baits him and plays with him, but Fortunato never considers turning back until it’s way too late. Climax Trapped in a conveniently man-sized space! Montresor brings up Luchesi, Fortunato calls Luchesi an “ignoramus,” and boom! He’s chained inside an upright casket in the foulest depths of the catacomb! That’s the story’s big, explosive moment. Suspense Brick by brick by brick… Montresor is building a wall of suspense, especially if you are Fortunato. Fortunato’s watching himself being bricked in, waiting, breathlessly to see if this is some kind of really creepy carnival joke.
Denouement The final brick After Montresor puts in the final brick, the suspense is dissolved. He’s heard the pitiful jingle of Fortunato’s bells, and it means nothing to him. As soon as the air is used up in the tiny brick casket, Fortunato will be dead. Conclusion Looking back It’s impossible to know how old Montresor is when he kills Fortunato, but in the second to the last line of the story, we learn that the murder happened fifty years ago. So Montresor is probably pushing eighty when he’s telling the story. And he could be far more ancient.
More importantly, this conclusion lets us know that Montresor has gotten away with his crime so far. His vengeance has been a success, and he wants us to know it. The Cask of Amontillado as Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy Plot Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper. Plot Type : Anticipation Stage
Amontillado! Fortunato is reveling in the carnival spirit, but it’s not enough. When he hears that Montresor has “a pipe of what passes for Amontillado,” his “energies,” as Booker would say, “have found a focus. ” Dream Stage Ahhh…Amontillado! Montresor is getting Fortunato really drunk. Fortunato must be taking this as a sign that Montresor is truly leading Fortunato to his heart’s desire – the best drink of all, Amontillado. Frustration Stage The trowel Fortunato begins to suspect that things might not be going as planned, when Montresor shows him the trowel.
He has to step back, perceiving for a moment what Booker calls a “shadow figure,” some force threatening the hero. But then he brushes off his fear and continues the hunt for Amontillado. Nightmare Stage “For the love of God, Montresor! ” Fortunato finally understands what Montresor is doing, and he screams, cries, and begs. He’s getting walled up in a hole. No Amontillado. He even brings up God. And Lady Fortunato. But none of this sways Montresor in the slightest. Destruction or Death Wish Stage The jingling of bells… That final jingle of bells is signal that Fortunato has accepted his situation for what it is.
Only when he communicates his utter resignation does Montresor insert the final brick. Fortunato has finally “felt” Montresor, and thus Montresor can kill him. Fortunato’s final communication with Montresor is the “final act,” as Booker says, that “destroys the hero. ” Three-Act Plot Analysis For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.
Act I Montresor thinks Fortunato insulted him, and he vows to wreak a terrible vengeance on the man. Act II He lures Fortunato down underground, into the foul catacombs of the Montresor family, with the promise of Amontillado. Then he gets Fortunato really drunk. Act III After a long and drunken journey with lots of human remains, including piles of bones, Fortunato walks into a hole in the wall. Montresor proceeds to chain him up and brick him in. After that we learn that the whole thing actually happened fifty years ago…