Plot summary[ edit ] Illustration of Prince Prospero confronting the "Red Death" by Arthur RackhamThe story takes place at the castellated abbey of the "happy and dauntless and sagacious" Prince Prospero. Prospero and 1, other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by "sharp pains", "sudden dizziness", and " profuse bleeding at the pores ", and die within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large; they intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.
Plot summary[ edit ] Fortunato and Montresor drink in the catacombs.
Angry over numerous injuries and some unspecified insult, Montresor plots to murder his "friend" during Carnivalwhile the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester 's motley. Montresor lures Fortunato into a private wine-tasting excursion by telling him he has obtained a pipe about gallons,  litres of what he believes to be a rare vintage of Amontillado.
He proposes obtaining confirmation of the pipe's contents by inviting a fellow wine aficionado, Luchesi, for a private tasting. Montresor knows Fortunato will not be able to resist demonstrating his discerning palate for wine and will insist that he taste the amontillado rather than Luchesi who, as he claims, "cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry".
Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine cellars of the latter's palazzowhere they wander in the catacombs. Montresor warns Fortunato, who has a bad cough, of the dampness, and suggests they go back, but Fortunato insists on continuing, claiming that he "shall not die of a cough".
During their walk, Montresor mentions his family coat of arms: At one point, Fortunato makes an elaborate, grotesque gesture with an upraised wine bottle. When Montresor appears not to recognize the gesture, Fortunato asks, "You are not of the masons?
When they come to a nicheMontresor tells his victim that the Amontillado is within. Fortunato enters drunk and unsuspecting and therefore, does not resist as Montresor quickly chains him to the wall.
Montresor then declares that, since Fortunato won't go back, Montresor must "positively leave" him there. Montresor reveals brick and mortar, previously hidden among the bones nearby, and proceeds to wall up the niche using his trowel, entombing his friend alive.
At first, Fortunato, who sobers up faster than Montresor anticipated, shakes the chains, trying to escape. Fortunato then screams for help, but Montresor mocks his cries, knowing nobody can hear them.
Fortunato laughs weakly and tries to pretend that he is the subject of a joke and that people will be waiting for him including the Lady Fortunato. Before placing the last stone, he drops a burning torch through the gap.
He claims that he feels sick at heart, but dismisses this reaction as an effect of the dampness of the catacombs. In the last few sentences, Montresor reveals that 50 years later, Fortunato's body still hangs from its chains in the niche where he left it.
Publication history[ edit ] Montresor walling up Fortunato. The mystery in "The Cask of Amontillado" is in Montresor's motive for murder. Without a detective in the story, it is up to the reader to solve the mystery. Some context is provided, including Montresor's observation that his family once was great but no longer soand Fortunato's belittling remarks about Montresor's exclusion from Freemasonry.
Many commentators conclude that, lacking significant reason, Montresor must be insanethough even this is questionable because of the intricate details of the plot. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong".
After Fortunato is chained to the wall and nearly entombed alive, Montresor merely mocks and mimics him, rather than disclosing to Fortunato the reasons behind his exacting revenge. Montresor may not have been entirely certain of the exact nature of the insults for which he expected Fortunato to atone.
His house had once been noble and respected, but has fallen slightly in status. Fortunato, as his name would seem to indicate, has been blessed with good fortune and wealth and is, therefore, viewed as unrefined by Montresor; however, this lack of refinement has not stopped Fortunato from surpassing Montresor in society, which could very well be the "insult" motive for Montresor's revenge.
Montresor even imparts this blame to Fortunato when he states, "You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was". This interchanging of fortunes is a suggestion that, since the names Montresor and Fortunato mirror one another, there is a psychological reciprocal identification between victim and executioner.
It is with this converging of the two characters that one is able to see the larger symbolism of the Montresor crest — the foot steps on the serpent while the serpent forever has his fangs embedded in the heel.
A more allegoric meaning of Poe's places the actors in reverse. Moffitt Cecil of Texas Christian University argues that his actions in the story make that assumption questionable.
For example, Fortunato comments on another nobleman being unable to distinguish amontillado from sherry when amontillado is in fact a type of sherry, and treats De Grave, an expensive French wine, with very little regard by drinking it in a single gulp. Cecil also states that a true wine connoisseur would never sample wine while intoxicated and describes Fortunato as merely an alcoholic.
Cecil also suggests that some people might feel Fortunato deserved to be buried alive for wasting a bottle of fine wine.
Historically, Massie had been killed in a sword duel on Christmas Day by Lieutenant Gustavus Drane, following a dispute during a card game. Poe and English had several confrontations, usually revolving around literary caricatures of one another.
Poe thought that one of English's writings went a bit too far, and successfully sued the other man's editors at The New York Mirror for libel in Its plot was convoluted and difficult to follow, but made references to secret societies and ultimately had a main theme of revenge.
This parody of Poe was depicted as a drunkard, liar, and an abusive lover. Poe responded with "The Cask of Amontillado", using very specific references to English's novel.
In Poe's story, for example, Fortunato makes reference to the secret society of Masonssimilar to the secret society inand even makes a gesture similar to one portrayed in it was a signal of distress."The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy", is an short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe.
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Symbolism in “The Cask of Amontillado” The Serpent and the Clown The story “The Cask of Amontillado” written by Edgar Allen Poe we meet the vengeful Montresor who plots to .
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The Cask Of Amontillado – Irony and Symbolism It is Edgar Allan Poe’s intense use of symbolism and irony all through the Cask of Amontillado that establishes the brief story as an indeed interesting candidate worthy of thorough analysis.