Ritical Thinking/ Analytical Essay on The Cask of Amontilladoby Edgar Allan Poe
The essay is a Critical Thinking/Analytical class which focus on Literature.
The following is the original short story of The Cask of Amontillado”:
The Cask of Almontilado by Edgar Allen Poe
The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could ; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged ; this was a point definitively settled but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
It must be understood, that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.
He had a weak point this Fortunato although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen , was a quack but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially : I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him, that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.
I said to him My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day ! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”
How ?said he. Amontillado ? A pipe ? Impossible ! And in the middle of the carnival !”
I have my doubts,I replied ; And I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”
I have my doubts.”
And I must satisfy them.”
As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me –”
Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”
And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.”
Come, let us go.”
To your vaults.”
My friend, no ; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi –”
I have no engagement ; come.”
My friend, no. 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.”
Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado ! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”
Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.
There were no attendants at home ; they had absconded to make merry in honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.
I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.
The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.
The pipe,said he.
It is farther on,said I ; But observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls.”
He turned towards me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication .
Nitre ?he asked, at length.
Nitre,I replied. How long have you had that cough ?”
Ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh !”
My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.
It is nothing,he said, at last.
Come,I said, with decision, We will go back ; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved ; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back ; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi –”
Enough,he said ; The cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”
True true,I replied ; And, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”
Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.
Drink,I said, presenting him the wine.
He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.
I drink,he said, To the buried that repose around us.”
And I to your long life.”
He again took my arm, and we proceeded.
These vaults,he said, Are extensive.”
The Montresors,I replied, Were a great and numerous family.”
I forget your arms.”
A huge human foot dor, in a field azure ; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”
And the motto ?”
Nemo me impune lacessit .”
Good !he said.
The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.
The nitre !I said : See, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the rivers bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough –”
It is nothing,he said ; Let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.”
I broke and reached him a flacon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.
I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement a grotesque one.
You do not comprehend ?he said.
Not I,I replied.
Then you are not of the brotherhood.”
You are not of the masons.”
Yes, yes,I said, Yes, yes.”
You ? Impossible ! A mason ?”
A mason,I replied.
A sign,he said.
It is this,I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaire.
You jest,he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. But let us proceed to the Amontillado.”
Be it so,I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak, and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. 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 rather to glow than flame.
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious