Irony in the Cask of Amontillado

People who want to get revenge often go to drastic extents even to deceiving people through hypocrisy.  The story “Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe portrays the hypocrisy of a revengeful man through the character Montresor in his attempt to take his “friend” Fortunato’s life.  The author shows Montresor’s hypocrisy through verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony.

                     Verbal irony plays an important role in showing Montresor’s hypocrisy.  Montresor flatters Fortunato and makes him feel important.  He often talks to Fortunato as his friend as is shown in the following quote: “My dear Fortunato you are a luckily met.  How remarkably well you look.”  (55)  He really does not consider Fortunato his friend.  All of this speech makes Fortunato feel comfortable and lures him into the trap of being off his guard.  He also speaks to Fortunato about his health making Fortunato believe that he cares about his life.  This is shown in the quote, “and to your long life.”  (56)  All Montresor thinks about of is killing Fortunato and he takes advantage of him. Montresor’s hypocrisy is shown by his flattering and the speech he uses to make Fortunato blind to reality.


                     Montresor’s taking advantage of Fortunato is expressed with another type of irony. Dramatic Irony is a very important part of the story.  It allows Montresor to kill Fortunato.  Fortunato has no clue that Montresor intends to kill him.  In fact, Montressor acts as if he respects Fortunato.  Montresor knows he is taking advantage of Fortunato and expresses this when he says, “I continued, as was my want, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile was now the thought of his immolation.” (54)  Montressor knows how to work Fortunato.  Fortunato blindness to the truth is so great, that when he is almost walled in he says, “A very good joke indeed.” (59)  In all reality, Montressor wasn’t joking and Montresor took Fortunato’s life.  Montresor’s hypocrisy shows through his laid back way of taking advantage of Fortunato’s ignorance.     


                      Although it is known Montresor is bent on revenge and he thinks of it with a light heart; the outcome of the story is somewhat unexpected. Edgar Allan Poe uses situational irony throughout the story to show Montresor’s hypocrisy.  Fortunato weakness is his love of old wines.  Montresor knows this and lures him down into the old crypt with promises of Amontillado, an old wine.  When Montresor tells him about the Amontillado and says he will get Luchesi to taste the wine, Fortunato says, “Let us go nevertheless.  The cold is merely nothing.  Amontillado!  You have been imposed upon.  And as to Luchesi, he cannot distinguish sherry form Amontillado.”  (55)  This quote shows Fortunato’s love for wine.  The irony is there is no Amontillado after all.  Montresor’s hypocrisy shows by his taking advantage of Fortunato’s weakness and lying to him.


                     The author uses verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony to show that Montresor becomes a hypocrite in his mission to get revenge.  In the story “The Cask of Amontillado” Edgar Allan Poe paints a picture showing the hypocrisy of charater Montresor, a revengeful hypocrite. Some of the worst hypocrites are people who are bent on revenge and evil.


~ by tdgunn on December 10, 2008.

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