The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

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How does setting play a significant role in the story of "The Cask of Amontillado"? The narrator describes the carnival setting, damp vaults, lots of niter, and bones of the dead. How do these contribute to the creation of the setting? Why is the setting so important in this story?

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The setting of the carnival provides us with a backdrop in which "anything goes." This time is a celebration of life, particularly of the things that make it all the more luscious and interesting. Carnivals often occur right before Lent, which is a time of austerity and sacrifice for spiritual reasons. Hence, the carnival is the "last hurrah" before entering a time of abstinence and sobriety. The story takes place "during the madness of the carnival season."

This means that the carnival setting brings on an air of rule-breaking and alcohol-infused liberation of inhibitions that can lead to anything a heart desires. This gives the author "license" to expand upon Montresor's envy, as well as the compulsive desire that he has to kill Fortunato. It makes the atmosphere feel sinful, excessive, dark, and mysterious.

Moreover, people put on masks at carnivals to fool one another and joke about reality. Montresor puts on a mask of kindness to drive Fortunato to his death (at the hands of Montresor...

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