Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Nemo Me Impune Lacessit Everyone has a sense of pride. Having self-pride is not a problem unless it causes vanity. Taking pride in something will cause one to strive for excellence. At the same time, too much pride can lead to egotism and arrogance. If others do not respect that pride, we will respond in one of two ways: work harder for their approval or hold a grudge against them for their insult. Everyone gets his or her pride hurt from time to time. Pride becomes a problem when we have so much of it we vow to take revenge on our transgressors. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Cask of Amontillado”, is a tale about how one’s pride can take over the body and soul to prevent loss of face or avenge disrespect.

Poe begins with a short history between the story’s main character, Montresor, and his oppressor, Fortunato. The story, told through Montresor’s eyes 50 years after the event, is set around 1800 when Napoleon’s rule was at its peak.

Poe characterizes Montresor as an untitled French royalists and Fortunato as an Italian opportunists (Kozikowski 273). An Italian follower of Napoleon in France is conceivable since France had recently taken control of Italy. Montresor and Fortunato are both serious wine connoisseurs. Montresor is depicted as being “skilful in the Italian vintages” and Fortunato is described “in the manner of old wines [as] sincere” (LWP 149).

In the opening line of the story, Montresor vows revenge on Fortunato for some insult from him. The story never explicitly states how Fortunato has wronged Montresor, but we can infer that at some time Fortunato has belittled him in his profession because the two were probably rivals. Montresor declares, “At length I would be avenged” (LWP 149). He is prepared to prolong his...