The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado book cover
Start Your Free Trial

 What is the theme of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

Expert Answers info

Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,633 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

It's possible that Poe intended this tale's principal theme to be a moral one, that of the wrongness of seeking revenge. If so, however, we would have to account for the fact that the avenger in this case is not subjected to any retribution against him for the crime of murder, and a gruesome murder at that. This "madman," unlike those in the "Tell-tale Heart" and "The Black Cat," gets away with it. He's not even shown suffering guilt, fifty years later, though it's possible that despite his neutral, unperturbed tone in narrating the story, he's unburdening his soul by making a cathartic revelation. Given the length of time that has passed since he killed Fortunato, Montresor must now be a very old man, especially by the standards of Poe's time and more so earlier, when the story evidently takes place.

Poe's stories, unlike those of his contemporary Hawthorne with which he had much in common, generally don't present themes involving...

(The entire section contains 492 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial