Elements of Irony in The Cask of Amontillado


Irony in The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe tells a story of a man, Montresor, who is seeking revenge on his friend, Fortunato, after insulting him and by doing so, he had insulted his whole family. However, when carrying out the revenge, Montresor did not want to suffer any consequences, and therefore he took advantage of Fortunato’s love of wine. Montresor tricked Fortunato into believing that he had the most exquisite wine by telling him that he wanted to call Luchresi to taste the wine. When Fortunato insisted that he was a better wine tester, Montresor led him in his vaults claiming that that’s where the wine was and made him drunk along the way. He then locked him up in a cave full of bones and ironically telling him to rest well. Throughout the story, Poe has used irony to increase suspense in the story.

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One element of irony is in Fortunato’s name, which literally means fortunate. When he is lured unwittingly into the vaults, a reader could assume that he will find an escape because of his name, which means fortunate. However, even when his instincts tried to warn him by how dark the cave was and seeing dead bones as they walked by, Fortunato did not realize that this was a trap (Poe 3).  Additionally, he was unfortunate because when the ordeal was happening, he was too drunk to think straight about the events, and instead, his mind was focused on tasting the wine. Another use of irony was Montresor’s approach to Fortunato. In their meeting, Montresor acknowledged Fortunato as his friend while he has hated him as stated in the first paragraph; “Fortunato had hurt me a thousand times and I had suffered quietly. But then I learned that he had laughed at my proud name, Montresor, the name of an old and honored family. I promised myself that I would make him pay for this _____ that I would have revenge (Poe 1)”. By greeting him warmly, he made it easier to lure him to his trap.

Another instance of irony is the dressing code of Fortunato, which includes a jester. He was prepared to enjoy the night fully, but instead, he is led into a dark path to his death. It is ironic that he died on the night he thought it would be fun. When he realized that Montresor had trapped him, he still thought it was a joke as he stated, “very good joke indeed, many times we will laugh about it (Poe 5). However, he did not realize that Montresor was killing him until he piled the bones around him. Another ironic situation was the fact that Montresor asked Fortunato if he would want to go back as they commenced the journey into the vaults. However, Montresor did not want Fortunato to go back as h had planned to kill him that night. Fortunato.

In conclusion, the use of irony in The Cask of Amontillado is evident, and it has been used to create suspense in the story. Fortunato did not notice any red flags despite being taken through dead human bones in search of wine. Moreover, the readers could have hoped that Fortunato would escape because of his name and dress code. However, even when Montresor asked him if he would want to go back without the intention of letting him go, his pride and love of wine could not let him, something that led to his death.  


Works Cited

Poe, E. A. (1981). The cask of amontillado. American English. (1-5) Retreived from https://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/the_cask_of_amontillado.pdf