In "The Cask of Amontillado," is there an exaggeration in the tragic end of Fortunato?Is it possible that man can reach that limit of atrocity or it is exaggeration by Poe?

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Jessica Akcinar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hyperbole is common in Poe's Gothic tales of murder. Often, Poe uses exaggerations to show just how insane his characters are. The reasoning behind this technique is that no sane person would be capable of such exaggerated behavior and thinking. For example, Montresor consistently uses hyperbole, "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could," which shows the reader that Montresor is not in his five senses. Fortunato's death is just another example of Montresor's madness though hyperbole. The reader pictures the ridiculous dialogue of yells and screams between the victim and the aggressor, "I re-echoed- I aided- I surpassed them in volume and in strength," and Fortunato's exaggerated final plea of "For the love of God Montresor!" resonates in our minds. Through hyperbole, Poe is successful in reaching the intense effect of horror he was hoping for. Only a madman would be capable of such atrocities.

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The Cask of Amontillado

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