"The Cask of Amontillado" - Does this tale have an abstract and a concrete subject?If so, I would like to know what they are and have a description. Thanks in advance!

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The evident or concrete subject of this short story is vengeance. Montressor narrates the events as a sort of confessional, ironically without regret. Rather he is bragging about how he murdered Fortunado and the fact that no one has discovered his crime for the past fifty years. The Montressor family coat-of-arms depicting the pierced golden heel crushing the serpent underfoot vividly portrays retribution for past wrongs.

On a  more interpretive level, there are other subjects as well. Consider appearance versus reality, for instance. The fact that both Montressor and Fortunado are in disguise reinforces this idea. Montressor pretends to be Fortunado's friend while all during their visit to the catycombs he is in reality planning his death. Montressor even takes pleasure in his deceit, as he lures Fortunato to the recessed wall where he has planned to brick him in.

Finally, there is an inferred subject of morbid insanity. Although Montressor seems to be intelligent, having taken great pains to scheme Fortunato's death, there is extremity and wildness in his remarks, reinforced by repetition.  Several times he asks Fortunato if he would not like rather to turn back. The reader (rather the listener, according to Montressor's story) can' t help but see that Montressor has become completely enslaved to his obsession.

Note: Remember a 'subject' simply states a topic or idea whereas a 'theme' develops this topic into a complete sentence, often with a moral appreciation.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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