How does "The Cask of Amontillado" fit in the genre of horror?

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chelseaosborne314 | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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In the introduction to The Penguin Book of Horror Stories, J. A. Cuddon defines the horror genre as something that "shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing." This fits "The Cask of Amontillado" like a glove. When Montresor invites Fortunato down into his vaults to taste the pipe of Amontillado that he purchased, the reader has no idea what his intentions are for his victim. Even when Montresor removes the shovel from the inner pocket of his cape, the reader does not know that Montresor plans to murder his companion. So it is certainly a surprise when Montresor suddenly chains Fortunato into a recess in the wall in his family's catacombs; and it can bring up a sense of repulsion or loathing at the dishonor of the kill. This is very deceitful in that Montresor gets his victim drunk before trying anything, and he relies on deception to take advantage of Fortunato's passion for wine. In the end, the fact that this story is about a murder is not the only reason why this story fits well into the horror genre; it is also the suspense throughout most of the story and the surprise of the brutality of Montresor's final act - not to mention Fortunato's reaction (his screams of fear) as Montresor walls him in.

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