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Clancy Lorell

Cask of Amontillado

There are many elements in a story that an author uses to bring out a central theme. Edgar A. Poe is well known for using tone and setting to help develop a theme in his writings. "The Cask of Amontillado" is no exception to Mr. Poe's use of the aforementioned techniques to develop the theme of revenge.

The very first line of the story gives some clue when we read "but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge." (587). Poe deals with revenge not only on a physical level, but also on a psychological level and how it eats at the soul of man. Our narrator, Montresor, has obviously been bothered about something for a great deal of time. The specific reason is not told to the reader, however there is some clue about insult, the nature of which we are not sure.

Revenge burned inside Montresor, and this is evident when he says, "At length I would be avenged. [...] I must not only punish, but punish with impunity" (587). The tone of the text clearly shows that the narrator is not about to sit our unsuspecting Fortunato down to talk about their problems. All throughout the story Poe never once hint to the reader that the two men will have a happy ending.

As in all his writings, Poe uses the setting to help create an overall mood for the story. The two characters venture into catacombs, a place where dead people are stored. Poe has done a great job in making the reader assume that another will be left tonight. The damp dark feel of the catacombs directly reflects the feel of the revenge that is about to be handed out.

With the mood set with the language used...