Compare "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin.

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At first glance, there doesn't seem much to compare between Edgar Alan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," yet beneath the surface, we discover that the two stories both have a great deal of psychological depth and drama and have a focus on death.

Psychology stands at the heart of both stories. In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor has been gravely offended by Fortunato, and he is bent on taking revenge. However, he will do so subtly at first, planning carefully, keeping his ideas to himself, and making sure that Fortunato catches no wind of it. We readers are allowed to look deeply into Montresor's psyche, his thoughts and plans and emotions. We can tell that he is obsessed with his revenge, and we are able to follow his thought process as he carries out his plan and walls Fortunato up in the catacombs, leaving him to go crazy and die.

"The Story of an Hour" presents psychological drama in a different way, but it is also quite intense. When Mrs. Mallard discovers that her husband has died, she weeps wildly at first. But when she goes to her room for some quiet solitude, she is struck by a surprising realization. We are allowed to watch Mrs. Mallard's thought process. We have access to her psyche as she realizes that she is free. She no longer has to bow to her husband's will. She can live for herself. Mrs. Mallard experiences a great sense of victory, even a joy, at this newfound freedom. But it does not last.

Both stories also focus on death. In "The Cask of Amontillado," Montresor's planning and accomplishment of Fortunato's death stands at the center of the story. Everything is concentrated on that obsession. Death seems to win at the end, certainly over Fortunato and eventually over Montresor, as fifty years have passed and he is now an old man.

In "The Story of an Hour," death triggers the movement of the plot when Brently Mallard is reported dead after a railroad accident. Mrs. Mallard feels that this death frees her. Yet Brently Mallard is not dead. There has been a mistake, and when he walks through the door at the end of the story, Mrs. Mallard collapses. Death takes her in the end, as her weak heart cannot handle the shock of losing her newfound freedom so quickly.

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