This was the second time I was reading the novel, The Cask of Amontillado, and I chose it because I’ve always liked Poe’s way of introducing his characters and plot creation, and as always, Poe didn’t get frustrated. Therefore, the topic below introduces my reaction to the character of Montressor and Poe’s plot creation.
Poe tells the tale from the point of view of Montresor, who will soon become a vengeance killer (Poe 2016, p.84). I loved how Poe presented his work presents his work since it gives the reader an opportunity to see the way the murder is thinking, planning, and contemplating how he will achieve his heinous mission. However, I think Montresor is a less reliable character since though I am convinced that he is honest about his actions and thoughts regarding the revenge he is planning, I observed that he avoids revealing his hesitation of following through his plan and harm his friend. The first time I read through the short story, it did not occur to me why Montresor consistently insists that his friend should not accompany him to see the pipe of Amontillado. At the first instance, I could not comprehend Montresor’s hesitation to lead his friend to what he thinks is a justified retribution; I was convinced that Montresor was making excuses to prevent his plan from happening. However, when I read the story the second and the third time, I realized that Montresor was using reverse psychology to ensure that Fortunato accompanies him to the pipe of Amontillado (Rust 2011, p.33). The more Montresor insists that Fortunato should not accompany him, the more Fortunato becomes eager and insists that he must accompany his friend. Upon this realization, I was baffled at Montresor’s cunning and scheming nature and the intelligence with which he planned and executed the revenge.
As well, Montresor proved to be better at utilizing people’s weaknesses for his selfish gains than I had perceived him to be. For instance, Montresor says to Fortunato, “My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement,”(Rust 2011, p.33). This is a trick which Montresor uses to express his unwillingness to go with Fortunato to the pipe of Amontillado. However, his hidden motive is to spark the desire of his friend to come with him so that he can execute his plan. This is why when Fortunato protests that he is not engaged, Montresor responds that “It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre” (Poe 2016, p.84) Finally, I could not help but wonder at Montresor’s ability to use people’s weakness to his advantage since Fortunato became impatient with Montresor’s begrudging and said, “Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon.” By utilizing the bond of friendship, he shared with Fortunato, Montresor succeeds in tricking Fortunato to accompany him to Amontillado (Baraban 2014, p.51). Though Montresor is visibly insane, I was hoping that the bond of friendship he shared with Fortunato would restrain him from completing his plan hence change Fortunato’s fate. However, as it turned out, Fortunato was not so fortunate after all.
When it comes to the plot development, I marveled at how Poe beautifully constructs a highly captivating story by hooking the reader with suspense. Though the clues in the story point to an inevitable demise for Fortunato, the story compels the reader to absorb each word since it is not very clear how the end will be. For instance, when the two friends finish enjoying a drink, Montresor claims that Fortunato has insulted him gravely and though he does not disclose his friend’s mistakes, he lets the reader know that Fortunato’s mistake was unforgivable (Rust 2011, p.33). Though the reader is aware that Montresor is planning revenge, Poe leaves the reader to contemplate and anticipate which type of punishment that Fortunato will face. As well, when Montresor lures his friend down into the vault, Poe builds the reader’s suspense, and at this instance, the book is irresistible, and the author has already established a strong plot for the story (Carlsmith, Wilson & Gilbert 2008, p.1316).
Finally, Montresor and Fortunato arrive at their destination, and he realizes that there is no Amontillado but only a hole in the wall. Montresor pushes Fortunato inside and begins to seal the hole with bricks amidst Fortunato’s screams and pleas to be released (Baraban 2014, p.47). However, it is too late since Montresor has fulfilled his plan and as he walks away, he is confident that he will get away with his crime since no one has disturbed the bones of the crypt for 50 years (Poe 2016, p.84). Poe succeeds in developing a well thought out plot since he takes the reader on the journey of revenge; from when the wrong was done to the planning and execution of the revenge. However, what was most interesting as I read through the plot is how well the revenge plan was executed so that Fortunato did not realize what was happening until it was too late. This masterful presentation would not have been possible without Poe’s skill and ability to sustain the reader’s suspense all the way to the end of the story.
Baraban, Elena V. “The Motive for Murder in” The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.” Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature (2014): 47-62.
Carlsmith, Kevin M., Timothy D. Wilson, and Daniel T. Gilbert. “The paradoxical consequences of revenge.” Journal of personality and social psychology 95.6 (2008): 1316.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The cask of amontillado. The Floating Press, 2016.
Rust, Richard Dilworth. “Punish with Impunity”: Poe, Thomas Dunn English, and” The Cask of Amontillado.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review (2011): 33-52.