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At what point in the story, "The Cask of Amontillado," is Montresor the most...

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dayday14 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2013 at 1:37 AM via web

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At what point in the story, "The Cask of Amontillado," is Montresor the most disturbing?

 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:27 AM (Answer #1)

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In a uniquely dark vision, Edgar Allan Poe probes the mystery of the self in "The Cask of the Amontillado." The unreliable narrator, so characteristic of many of Poe's tales, becomes increasingly perverse as the narrative continues. His use of reverse psychology to lure Fortunato into the catacombs and his double entendres upon such words as "mason," and later words with sexual connotations increase the horror of which Montresor is capable.

As he leads the unsuspecting Fortunato into the remote end of the crypt, Montresor "seduces" his enemy into being fettered to the wall. There is a perverse use of words that suggest that Montresor enjoys a certain sado-masochistic pleasure in walling in his foe. 

It is, then, after Montresor finishes his mason work, that he is the most disturbing as he replies to the shrill screams of Fortunato by "unsheathing my rapier" and groping within, then screaming and "surpass[ing] them [the screams of Fortunato] in volume and strength."  When a low laugh emanates from the niche in the wall, Montresor describes the effect upon himself as "erect[ing] the hairs upon my head."

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within....My heart grew sick--on account of the dampness of the catacombs. 

Here, the real horror lies within the cold-blooded and perverse mind of Montresor.

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