The Cask of Amontillado

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Date Submitted: 09/18/2012 09:51 PM

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The Use of Montresor as the Narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”


Often times in literature, a narrator may tell a story in the past tense, as they reminisce. This is done strategically, as it can give a deeper meaning to the piece. As well, the choice of narrator is crucial. Depending on who the storyteller is, various plot details and even the outcome of the story may change. This is true in the story “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe. The story centers on a character striving for revenge on an enemy. The character that is seeking vengeance, Montresor, is the narrator of the story who is telling the audience his tale of revenge. The question of why he is the one telling the story may arise; we can see that it seems like he is craving an audience or a witness or is possibly looking to confess. He also tells the tale fifty years later, which is quite intriguing. In the eyes of Montresor, him telling the tale fifty years later makes him feel as though he pulled off the perfect crime. The story begins with Montresor, expressing his hatred towards his acquaintance Fortunato, who had apparently insulted him a thousand times. Montresor claimed that “when [Fortunato] ventured upon insult, [he] vowed revenge” (Poe 1). However, Montresor considered it compulsory that his plan “preclude the idea of risk” (1) and that it must be kept in secret. There is a great lack of evidence that Montresor was insulted by Fortunato in the past, but as a reader we are obliged to believe so. Since this tale is being told fifty years later, we have no other source to consult. This ultimately makes us question Montresor’s reliability. Because he is the only source, he could be strategically telling us this now to prove that he is the only reliable source available. As well, he could also be telling us this so that the reader would side with him. After running into Fortunato one evening during the...