Did the author use personification in "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Montresor gives Fortunato some Medoc to drink, the author notes that Montresor knocks the "neck" off of a bottle. This is a common term for the top, slender part of any bottle. But it is an example of endowing an object with human characteristics. 

There is a better example of personification near the end of the story. Montresor and Fortunato are deep into the crypt. Three of the walls are lined with bones. The fourth wall is not because the bones had fallen down. Poe describe it like this: "the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size." Promiscuous means impure, random, haphazard, or careless. To be clear, having the quality of randomness does not imply personification. But since these were once bones in a human body, and given the morbid tone of this story, Poe is giving the bones an eerie notion of personification. It is subtle but the intention is to suggest that the bones are communicating a sense of randomness or carelessness and maybe even impurity. In other words, the bones are suggesting these notions. To suggest something, they would need to be sentient and be conscious. These are human traits. 

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The Cask of Amontillado

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