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What is the theme of Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Cask of Amontillado" and how the...

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jess27 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 8, 2007 at 10:06 AM via web

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What is the theme of Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Cask of Amontillado" and how the story relates to the theme?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 8, 2007 at 10:41 AM (Answer #1)

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The theme of Poe's wonderful story is revenge, though I'd probably narrow that a bit: the overwhelming intensity of revenge and how it can distort and destroy lives. The story relates to this theme on both the literal and the psychological level. Literally, Montressor bricks Fortunato into the walls of the catacomb and kills him. On the psychological level, the mysterious "thousand injuries" that Fortunato has done to Montressor have unbalanced him, turning him from a harmless wine snob to a killer.
Greg

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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted July 12, 2007 at 11:26 PM (Answer #2)

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Though I am sure there are more deeply rooted themes in “The Cask of Amontillado”, the two most obvious seem to be Revenge and Atonement and Forgiveness.  As to how they relate to the story, revenge is quite obvious as Montressor commits the ghastly and extremely well planned out murder of Fotunato in his drive for revenge against injuries he believes Fortunato has caused him.  The notion of seeking revenge is mentioned several times throughout the story.  The second theme, that of atonement and forgiveness falls entirely upon Montressor.  Although he felt vindicated in what he had done to Fortunato, he could only atone for his sins and be forgiven by God himself, and that idea is left in limbo by Poe.

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