Literary Devices “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe is a great example of usage of literary devices. Literary devices help the author portray his point. Readers use these devices to analyze and interpret the story. The use of a literary device provides a punch to the story and gets the reader’s full attention. Literary devices help express a particular idea in a meaningful way. Poe uses irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing to enhance the mind of readers. Irony is usually defined as the difference between what is said and what is really meant. Poe uses extensive irony throughout the story.
James Gargano suggests that Poe’s tale presents an ironic vision of the two men. They are surrogates of mankind who enter upon a venture that really exposes their psychological isolation. An example of irony early in the story can be seen when Montresor says, “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met” (Poe 2). The irony here is Montresor planned to meet him at the carnival and Fortunato does not know he is not really luckily met. Montresor’s plans are to murder him. Another use of irony is Fortunato’s clothes. Fortunato is known to be a man who is “rich, respected, and admired” (Poe 3).
His clothes are representative of a clown or jester, not the up-standing man he portrays himself to be. James Gargano also states that Montresor, the stalker of Fortunato, is both a compulsive and pursued man; for in committing a flawless crime against another human being, he really commits the worst of crimes against himself. Another way Poe uses literary devices is his use of symbolism. Montresor’s family motto is, "Nemo me impune lacessit," means, "No one insults me with impunity" (Poe 4). The motto suggests that they tolerate no insult and will punish anyone who does so.
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The punishment is symbolic of Montrsor’s ultimate intention. Also, the use of the Amontillado is a sign of symbolism. The Amontillado is basically the bait. Montresor knows Fortunato takes pride in his knowledge of wine. Montresor says “I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter” (Poe 2). Montresor knows Fortunato’s weakness and uses his knowledge of wine to his advantage. Another use of symbolism is the carnival. The lights sound, and people that surround the carnival make the atmosphere a mad house. The carnival atomsphere is symbolic of the mind frame of Montresor.
He is a mad man out solely for revenge. The name Montresor is another use of symbolism. In French Montresor means “My Treasure. ” The crime Montresor plans to commit is his treasure. It almost seems he takes much pride in his plans. The name Fortunato means “Fortunate. ” As we all know, Fortunato is far from fortunate. He fell into the hands of the man who controls his life, and his life is eventually taken from him. Poe also uses foreshadowing in the story. Foreshadowing is when an element in a story is used to suggest that an event will occur. Foreshadowing can be seen in the title, “The Cask of Amontillado. “Cask” is known to stand for casket, which refers to where a person lies after he/she pass. In the end of the story, Fortunato is buried alive. Another foreshadowing event occurs in the opening statement “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge” (Poe 1). Montressor let the readers know the entire plot of the story basically. This statement foreshadows the death of Fortunato. Also, a foreshadowing event occurs when Fortunato starts coughing and states, “The cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough. “True-true,” replied Montresor (Poe 3). Montresor reveals early on that Fortunato has a weak point for wine. Montresor using his knowledge of Fortuanto’s love for wine is a example of foreshadowing. Literary devices in “The Cask of Amontillado” help readers get a better understanding of important facts. The plot, characters, themes, and conclusion are just some of the main points literary devices reveal. Knowing how to read the story, while understanding the literary devices is important. Poe did a remarkable job at providing readers with different ways to understand and interpret irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing.
Works Cited Gargano, James W. “’ The Cask of Amontillado’: A Masquerade of Motive and Identity” Studies in Short Fiction, Vol, IV, No-2, Winter, 1967 119-26. Rpt. In Short Story Criticism. Ed. Anna Sheets Nesbitt. Vol 35. Gale Group, Detroit: 2000, 311-314. Print. Gargano, James. “Delusion in the Story. ” “The Cask of Amontillado. ” Philadelphia; Chelsea House Publishing, 1998. Blooms Literary Reference Online. Facts on File Inc. Web. 5 March 2013. http://www. fofweb. com Poe, Edgar Allen. “The Cask of Amontillado. ” 40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Beverly Lawn. 4Th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013 14-20. Print
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