Edgar Allan Poe

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Explain how the narrator's point of view shapes the action and pacing of "The Cask of Amontillado."

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The narration in "The Cask of Amontillado" is provided by a first-person point of view from an arguably unreliable and manipulative narrator, Montresor. The narrator opens the story with vague and non-specific claims against Fortunato that set the foundation for Montresor's murder. Because the narration of the story comes from the point of view of a cold, manipulative, and vague murderer, the storyline then coincides with this unclear and sinister narration. Readers are never given a thorough reasoning for why Montresor decides to kill Fortunato. As Montresor leads Fortunato deep into the depths of his estate, readers also descend deeper into the sinister plans of the narrator and deeper into the lack of clarity as to why the narrator would go to such horrible lengths against Fortunato.

As opposed to some of the more erratic and frantic narrators of Edgar Allen Poe's comparable short stories, the narrator of "The Cask of Amontillado" is less erratic and more sinister and calculating. The pacing of the story reflects this less erratic narration. The story takes on a more dark beauty in some passages and is filled with more suspense than brazen action. While Fortunate meets a horrific fate, the actual murder is not one of blood and gore but is filled with the cold, calculating, and ironic malice that matches the tone and personality of the narrator.

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