What does irony add to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"?

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A strikingly ironic feature of Poe's story is the completely trusting attitude Fortunato appears to show toward Montresor. It's partly explained by the fact that Fortunato is drunk, but what we see, moreover, is the typical situation in Poe in which either a victim or a villain seems immune to the ordinary processes of thought and rationality. Fortunato is similar in this way to the king and courtiers in Poe's "Hop-Frog," who never seem to realize, until it is too late for them, that Hop-Frog hates them and is planning an extremely gruesome form of vengeance to carry out against them.

Several smaller details in "The Cask of Amontillado" similarly embody an irony without which the story might come across as a rather too straightforward and even unsubtle tale of violent revenge. First, we are never given the specifics of any of the "thousand injuries" Fortunato has supposedly inflicted upon Montresor. The ironic absence of any description increases the sense of irrationality and even terror...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 706 words.)

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