What literary device is used in "The Cask of Amontillado" how does it develop the message of the story?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though his dark subject matter is not universally appealing, Edgar Allan Poe was a superb technician and his skill in crafting this revenge tale through the use of symbolism is undeniable.

A single example among the many uses of symbolism is found in the names of the principal characters, Montresor ( French for "my treasure") and Fortunato (ltalian for "fortunate one").  Montresor is pathologically angry with Fortunato for a series of slights that are described only as "a thousand injuries". Exacting revenge through Fortunato's destruction is what is most precious to Montresor.

Fortunato, symbolically costumed as a fool for Carnival, is merrily oblivious to Montresor's anger and readily follows him underground to sample a rare sherry. When Montresor overpowers and entombs Fortunato, he literally buries his "treasure." Fortunato's name, then, can only be deemed ironic.

 Poe, Edgar Allan.  "The Cask of Amontillado"


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