Poe is a master at creating an eerie, suspenseful mood in his stories. What some examples in the text that illustrate this mood?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Cask of Amontillado," Poe uses rhetorical strategies to create an eerie and suspenseful tone and mood.  For example, early in the story, Poe has Montresor challenge Fortunato's expertise by suggesting that another man--Luchresi--is more of a wine expert than Fortunato is.  Montresor says:

"'My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchresi--'"

Immediately, afterwards, Fortunato tells Montresor that Luchresi is a fraud and that he knows nothing of Amontillado.  Dramatic irony is at play here as the reader knows that Montresor is meaning to do harm to Fortunato and that he is using this ploy to bait and trap Fortunato.  Thus, the story gains suspense.

Further, Poe uses imagery to develop the eerie nature of the story.  As Montresor leads Fortunato further into the catacombs, the description of the scene is eerie:

"We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs."

In addition to there being skeletons lining the walls, the air is damp and there is little light, which sets the eerie scene for Fortunato's fate.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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